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Saturday, August 23, 2014


(An excellent story forwarded by our talented writer Susan John who had given us many literary contributions in the past. Thanks Susan for this beautiful story)

Of  Blessings and Curses

My daughter recently got her first mobile and she was all ecstatic. It was nice to see the innocent joy it brought her. Two months and two billing cycles down she now looks at it with mixed emotions – it is always exhilarating to download the latest tunes, access the net anytime, and message friends real-time. But it is just as sad to realize that a seemingly short call actually ran into 36 minutes, only 400 sms’ are free and being ‘connected’ always is not as cool as it seemed before.
Strange how we see things in different light as time passes. The other day I read a beautiful Sufi parable. I am including the story here so that you too can ponder over the simple truth it conveys.
Many years ago a farmer and his son lived in a small Chinese village. He was poor and had only a small hut and a horse to call as his possessions. One day, the horse ran away, leaving the man with no animal with which to work the land. His neighbors, who respected him for his honesty and diligence, went to his house to say how much they regretted his loss. He thanked them for their visit, but asked: “How do you know that what happened was a misfortune?”
Someone muttered to a friend: “He obviously doesn’t want to face facts, but let him think what he likes; after all, it’s better than being sad about it.”
And the neighbors went away again, pretending to agree with what he had said.
A week later, the horse returned to its stable, but it was not alone; it brought with it a beautiful mare for company. The inhabitants of the village were thrilled when they heard the news, for only then did they understand the reply the man had given them, and they went back to the farmer’s house to congratulate him on his good fortune.
“Instead of one horse, you’ve got two. Congratulations!” they said.
“Many thanks for your visit,” replied the farmer. “But how do you know that what happened was a blessing in my life?”
The neighbors were rather put out and decided that the man must be going mad, and, as they left, they said: “Doesn’t the man realize that the horse is a gift from God?”
A month later, the farmer’s son decided to ride the mare. However, the animal bucked wildly and threw the boy off. The boy fell awkwardly and broke his leg.
The neighbors returned to the farmer’s house to present their condolences. The man thanked them for their visit and for their kindness, but he asked: “How do you know that what happened was a misfortune in my life?”
These words left everyone dumbstruck, because they were all quite sure that the son’s accident was a real tragedy. As they left the farmer’s house, they said to each other: “Now he really has gone mad; his only son could be left permanently crippled, and he’s not sure whether the accident was a misfortune or not!”
A few months went by, and Japan declared war on China. The emperor’s men scoured the country for healthy young men to be sent to the front. When they reached the village, they recruited all the young men, except the farmer’s son, whose leg had not yet mended.
None of the young men came back alive. The son recovered, and the two horses produced foals that were all sold for a good price.
This time the farmer went to visit his neighbors to console and to help them, since they had always shown him such solidarity. Whenever any of them complained, the farmer would say: “How do you know that what happened was a misfortune?”
If someone was overjoyed about something, he would ask: “How do you know that what happened was a blessing?”
And the people of the village came to understand that life has other meanings that go beyond mere appearance.
Just like the villagers in the story, let’s look again. What are the burdens that bog us down? What are the benefits they bring us – directly or indirectly? What do we count as blessings?
Our myopic vision can only fathom that which is obvious and current. But take a look at the larger picture and it all fits in – into this huge and colorful fabric of our life. And till we get this big picture lets not hasten to judge, but let’s live with what we have, doing our possible best, and waiting it out.

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