Chinese Farmer Story

A couple of weeks ago, I got a flat tire. It was late on a Friday evening and I was quite exhausted from a hectic day ending a busy week. Of course, it was raining and miserable outside. The roadside assistance took a while, there were many accidents and traffic jams on that yucky afternoon, but eventually I was able to get back home on with my spare tire – tired and dwelling on my bad news.

The next day, the rain had passed, It was one of our sunny warm and beautiful December Saturdays! I went to get my tire repaired. Turns out that there was another nail in my tires and the tread wear was uneven and they needed alignment and I was due for new tires anyway. Just down the street from the tire store is Bond Brothers Beer Company, so we went there and relaxed, enjoyed the delicious food truck, partook in the libations, meet some friends, and shared in downtown Cary’s social life with the hundred or more others who were there to enjoy the awesome day. My car now handles wonderfully, and with the return of all the bad weather, I have felt great about driving with new tires – refreshed and kvelling on my good news.

This experience reminded me of the old parable of a Chinese farmer:

A Chinese farmer gets a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbor says, “That’s bad news.” The farmer replies, “Good news, bad news, who can say?”

The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news, you might say.
The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg.

“So sorry for your bad news,” says the concerned neighbor. “Good news, bad news, who can say?” the farmer replies.

In a week or so, the emperor’s men come and take every able-bodied young man to fight in a war. The farmer’s son is spared.

Good news, of course.

“The farmer’s tale captures many of those. In short, it reminds people that it’s best not to get too upset — or attached — to what happens to us. Even something that seems dark and confounding can turn out to be an opportunity when looked on in hindsight.”  [source]