Long Ago in China...
Long ago in China there was a farmer whose only horse ran away. His neighbor said to him, “Your only horse has run away. This is a terrible thing. Now you won’t be able to plow your field, and you’ll starve and die.” The farmer replied, “Who knows what’s good and what’s bad. Only time will tell.”
The next day, the farmer’s horse returned. He had been up in the mountains and with him came nine other horses. The neighbor again had something to say. “You are rich! This is wonderful fortune for you. Now you can plant more and sell horses besides.” The farmer replied, “Who knows what’s good and what’s bad. Only time will tell.”
The next day, the farmer’s only son was trying to ride one of the new horses to get him ready for market. The horse threw him, and he broke his leg. Of course, the neighbor had something to say. “What terrible luck you have. Your only son has broken his leg. You are an old man who can’t work the fields without the help of your son. You’ll starve and die no matter how many horse you have.” The farmer again replied, “Who knows what’s good and what’s bad. Only time will tell.”
The next day, the Emperor’s army came through the village drafting men for war. They did not take the farmer’s son because he had a broken leg. They did take the farmer’s neighbor, so the story will have to end here because the neighbor didn’t have anything more to say.
I love this story because it’s a good reminder for me, when things are going well or ill, that I really have no idea how things are supposed to work out. It recently happened to me that a group I wanted to work with didn’t want to work with me. I tried over a couple of years to help them, but they didn’t want to hear what I had to say. I felt unwanted and left out. I started to doubt my worth to others.
Then a few weeks ago, I met some other people who very much wanted what I had to offer. So we’ve gotten together to form a new venture. It’s exciting to start again, and it’s exciting to be hard at work on ending addiction as a problem. It’s particularly exciting to be starting with people younger, smarter and more energetic than me. But while it’s exciting and the world looks rosy, I have to remember, only time will tell.