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There are more elaborate versions of this fable, but I think this one will get the point across.
There’s a story about a farmer many years ago who owned a horse.
He wasn’t a rich man and his horse was his most prized possession.
One day he woke up to find that his horse was missing.
The other men in the village came to visit and commiserate with him. “What terrible luck, losing your prized horse.”
“Was it terrible luck? Let’s just wait and see, it’s still too early to tell.” the farmer responded.
Confused, his friends went home.
A few days later, the farmer’s horse returned and it had brought another horse back with him.
“What good fortune,” the man’s friends said, “now you have two horses, you have been blessed.
“Have I? Let’s wait and see, it’s too early to tell.” the man answered.
A week later the farmer’s son was riding one of the horses and he fell off, breaking his leg.
“What terrible luck,” his friends said, “You have surely been cursed for such a horrible accident to take place.”
“Just wait and see.” the man again responded.
Once again his friends were confused by the farmer’s response.
A week later, the country went to war and every able-bodied young man was required to join the military. The farmer’s son was excused from duty due to his injury, but every other young man from the village was forced to leave.
Sadly, they all were killed in battle.
Once again the men from the village gathered and congratulated the farmer on his good fortune.
“Just wait and see.” was the response.
Now for a real life example:
A week or so ago there was a story about a man in Arizona who was working at a convenience store when it was robbed. He was tied up along with another employee and pistol whipped to the degree he was taken to the emergency room. Once there they stitched up a large gash and gave him a CT scan. The scan revealed a brain tumor that, doctors said would likely have gone unnoticed, but would probably have resulted in his having gone to bed and never wakened. The tumor, golf ball in size will take 3 surgeries to remedy, while the initial injury required 8 staples.
When we are disappointed with an outcome, it may be difficult to consider that this result might actually be a blessing. A partner is heartbroken when a troubled marriage comes to an end and finds a partner down the road with whom he or she experiences a far more satisfying relationship. A child does not get into a college they hoped for yet finds a great mentor at their second choice. A great job interview doesn’t lead to an offer from a company that, downtrends a year later laying off many people. I’m not suggesting that every situation has its silver lining. I wish that were true. But I am suggesting that, very often, it is our attachment to an outcome that creates suffering, rather than the circumstances we experience. At very least, it gives me reason to wonder how one’s suffering might be mitigated, if not alleviated, by taking the posture of “just wait and see.”
I’d love to hear your examples where waiting to see may have surprised you. Thanks as always for reading. If you liked todays post, I hope you will pass it on to someone else and suggest they subscribe. Until next time take good care.