Sometimes when you hear a story it completely resonates with you and seems to fit perfectly into the scenario of life. Last week a friend recalled a story and since then so many things have made me think back to that tale and has certainly changed my way of thinking. The story was very much like the one retold below but was about an Italian farmer. I suppose it could really be about almost anyone.
A Chinese farmer gets a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbour says, “That’s bad news.” The farmer replies, “Good news, bad news, who can say?”
The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news, you might say. The farmer replies, “Good news, bad news, who can say?”
The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg. “So sorry for your bad news,” says the concerned neighbour. “Good news, bad news, who can say?” the farmer replies.
In a week or so, the emperor’s men come and take every able-bodied young man to fight in a war. The farmer’s son is spared.
Good news, of course!! Bad news – who can say?
It’s easy to understand why the ancient story of the Chinese farmer resonates now, in times that seem way too full of bad news. The farmer’s tale captures many of our emotions. Even something that seems dark and confounding now can turn out to be an opportunity, when looked on in hindsight.
There are many current situations where we can use this story. If someone were to lose their job, it may at the time seem like bad news but when looked at later it may have been the best thing to have happened” Lots of us have had something not turn out the way we wanted — only to find out that something way better was in store?
Since the launch of Banana Crumble and our link with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust we have obviously spoken to lots of people with CF. One thing that Sophie Holmes has said is that the CF has made her who she is and gives her the drive and determination she now has. If she hadn’t had CF would she have had that same ambition? So from something reported as bad news she feels something good has come out of it.
You don’t have be deeply philosophical to understand that from where we stand now, we don’t know the end of the story we’re living. We don’t know the twists and turns still to come. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl famously said in “Man’s Search for Meaning,” when we’ve lost much, or even nearly everything, sometimes all we can choose is our attitude in the face of trials.
That’s why I decided to tell you the tale of the farmer in the hope it encourages you not always to think of bad news as bad news!!
We never know what gifts will follow “bad news,” and encourages us to take both good and bad as simply what happens in life.