It’d be great to know. . .
It’d be great to know what’s, literally,
D O W N T H E T R A C K. . .
W O U L D I T
D O E S I T
M A T T E R. . . ?
The story has been blamed on many. . .
I’ve heard it
I’ve preached it
I’ve told it
I’ve taught it
and now, now
I’ll blog it:
|Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he |
was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king
coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before—such
was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them. “It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a
friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?” The man was poor
and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.One morning he
found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see him. “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your
horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How
could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone, and you’ve
been cursed with misfortune.”The old man responded, “Don’t speak too
quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can
you judge?”The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may
not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact
that your horse is gone is a curse.”The old man spoke again. “All I know is
that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know.
Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?”The people of the village laughed. They
thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of
poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.After fifteen days,
the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him.
Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. “Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.”The man responded, “Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses
returned with him, but don’t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can
you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole
book? You read only one word of a phrase. Can you understand the entire
phrase?”Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment! Don’t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don’t.””Maybe
the old man is right,” they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild
horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.The old man had a
son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a
few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.
“You were right,” they said. “You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer
than ever.”The old man spoke again. “You people are obsessed with judging. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a
blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments.”It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in
war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were
required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded,
because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old
man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was
little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war
would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.”You
were right, old man,” they wept. “God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son’s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he
is with you. Our sons are gone forever.”The old man spoke again. “It is
impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows.
Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows
if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God
knows.”The old man was right. We only have a fragment. Life’s mishaps
and horrors are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about
drawing conclusions. We must reserve judgment on life’s storms until
we know the whole story.
We don’t know,
do we. . .
Is it a blessing
Is it a curse
we are on. . .
The one sure thing
maybe the only thing
is that while on the road
we travel not alone. . .
. , ,We are all on the same track. . .
just different sections of it;
so reach out and grab
H O L D
a Hand. . .
and make the
J O U R N E Y
a little easier,
a lot more enjoyable
and t h e n,
R E C O G O N I Z E
and holds our own
Is the only hand
is the only path
is the only good and bad
is the only the happy and sad
is the only woodcutter’s wisdom
we ever need to get us down
that’s before us all. . .
It’s the only story that matters
and it’s not so much told
as LIVED. . .
O U R ‘ S