Monday, May 09, 2011

the silence

i don't own many children's books, and the few that i do have are mostly gifts (for which i am appreciative.)  but there's one (only one?) that i've bought for myself.  it's called zen shorts, a story of panda who moves in next to a couple of children and within the story tells them three short zen parables.  with all credit to author jon j. muth, here is "the farmer's luck."

there was once an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years.

one day, his horse ran away.  upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.
"such bad luck," they said sympathetically.
"maybe," the farmer replied.
the next morning the horse returned, bringing with it two other wild horses.
"such good luck!" the neighbors exclaimed.
"maybe," replied the farmer.

the following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off, and broke his leg.
again, the neighbors came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
"such bad luck," they said.
"maybe," answered the farmer.

the day after that, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army to fight in a war. seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by.
"such good luck!" cried the neighbors.
"maybe," said the farmer.

now, the zen idea of being so tranquil that one is never bothered by anything doesn't fully appeal to me, as it seems that, without lows, you don't feel the highs, either.  a few years ago i saw a sign somewhere that said to the effect, "if you don't try too hard then losing isn't too disappointing and winning isn't very exciting."
also, i don't know where the line is between things "just happening" and it all being a part of God's plan for us personally, but i do believe that He is actively an interested part of our lives, even on a daily level.

that all being said, i think this is a very good story that i can do well to remember.


Em said...

i think the helpful part of it is to remember that we rarely rarely see the full picture, and that if we trust that Someone Else does, we aren't too shaken by the bumps in the road, nor do we take credit for high moments or assume more bumps aren't ahead.

Becky said...

Funny, I was just thinking of this story last week sometime, and I don't really remember why, nor had I heard it recently. I think Dad told it to me once a long time ago. But yes, it kind of reminds me of a simple, but helpful quote that I once heard (although it has a more optimistic sound): "Everything is okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end!"

The Former 786 said...

So I googled that quote, and all it did was pull up your blog. So I just gave the credit to you when I put it down in my quote collection.