There’s a story of a farmer and his son who had a magnificent stallion. One day, the horse ran away and the neighbors exclaimed, “What terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so; maybe not.”
A few days later, the horse returned home bringing with him several wild mares. The neighbors declared, “Your stallion has returned with several other horses! What great luck! The farmer again replied, “Maybe so; maybe not.”
Later, the farmer’s son was riding one of the mares when she threw him to the ground causing a bad break in his leg. The neighbors sympathized, “How awful about your son! What terrible luck!” Once more the farmer replied, “Maybe so; maybe not.”
Not long after, soldiers from the army marched through town recruiting all the eligible males, but they didn’t take the farmer’s son because of his injury. Elated, the neighbors cried out, “Your boy was spared from war! What tremendous luck!” The farmer replied once again, “Maybe so; maybe not.”
This wonderful story came to my mind recently as I went through a catastrophic event that had me so upset and wanting to eat a brownie the size of a cow. My computer crashed. Not only that, our Internet provider’s back-up program hadn’t backed up my computer for over two months, even though their numerous techs insisted that everything was being backed up. I cried a few tears, did some comfort eating, went into my shell, and had myself a huge pity party for a party of one. Me. For the next several days, I was in major bummie mode and was having a hard time getting myself de-bummed.
Yeah, yeah, I know… My computer crashing isn’t a big deal compared to what other people are going through and with what’s going on in the world, and the possibility of losing over two month’s writings and work can’t be compared to diseases and death. But for that one vulnerable moment in time, it took me out big time. I’m a writer and I write a lot, so losing any of my work could be a huge bummer.
I am a big believer that good comes from everything even though we may not always see it at the time. Or we may never openly see it, but it will happen. We just have to keep an open mind and look for the signs. And trust me…at the moment I’m looking big time.
Those who know me also know that I’m an incurable optimist to the point that it can sometimes drive friends and family bonkers. What many don’t know, except for my closest friends, is that I do have my pessimistic moments more times than I care to admit. I just don’t complain or talk about them. I may mention something that happened in passing, but I refuse to play the victim card.
When I look back on my life, I can see how good manifested from the experiences I thought were traumatic at the time. For some of them, it took years before I could look back in hindsight and see the good that had transpired.
You may ask how good can come from such terrible disasters such as 9/11. Tragedies such as these are horrific and they can leave people scarred for life. The thing to remember is these events unite people from all over the world to help. We all see each other only as human beings and look past the labels. The problem is that people soon forget, and society and nations go right back to their fighting and arguing and seeing only the labels that each of us wears.
Another example would be to look at all the hate, bigotry, and violence that is being propagated right now. Yes, many people who are steeped in fear of others for whatever reasons are joining the dark side, so to speak. What people don’t realize, and too few can see, is that all this is actually teaching people to love! It’s uniting people and bringing us together from all races, religions, nationalities, genders, politics, and walks of life. Again, love doesn’t sell in the media so we don’t hear about these wonderful stories of hope, courage, and oneness.
Of course, being an optimist or always looking for the good doesn’t mean we ignore the bad or negative. Our perspectives are choices that we make. Walt Disney said, “I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” And Noam Chomsky stated, “Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper May 6, 2016.