All good! Put on my favorite shorts; they’re unbelievable: knee length, not too tight, not too lose. Slip on my favorite plain black tee shirt: breathable. All good. And then the rain came — unannounced. Good thing I was already on the train. I did not have a trainwreck; I had a rainwreck. How can I accomplish my errands now? I have not even brought my umbrella with me. How could I be such an unstrategic backpacker, carrying almost everything on my rucksack but have forgotten my umbrella?
This is one of those days when you have to make lemonades out of lemons. But if you think about it. The rain may actually bring in some blessings. It increases the growth of plants, increases the water content of the earth, helps the farmers, gives relief to people from the heat, and it rehydrates the bodies of water within which other animals live.
We humans have developed a bias towards our own subjective agenda that we have forgotten that we are part of a bigger scenario. We tend to only appreciate the things that benefit us directly, but forget that there are other parties to the equation. Therefore, we don’t have to take ourselves seriously whenever we encounter a situation that seems to put us in a disadvantage. Sure, the sting of disappointment may hurt us momentarily, but if we try to move on with our lives, we can overcome certain frustrations. We can live life with more grace.
You may not be able to identify with this, but weren’t there some disappointing events in your life that you thought was the worst at that time? Didn’t you feel that it was as though your whole world was going to crumble? Perhaps you cannot remember, which furthers the point. The fact that we cannot remember many of our frustrations imply that they were not significant enough for us in the present. We may have overcome an obstacle, won a battle, or conquered a struggle. In fact, some of our disadvantages made us who we are today.
I remember a story in the Taoist tradition which says: There was an old farmer whose horse, a priced possession, ran away. His neighbors heard about it and told him: “Such an unfortune!” The farmer replied, “Perhaps.” Later, the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. His neighbors exclaimed: “How wonderful.” The old man responded: “Perhaps.”
The following day, the old man’s son tried to tame one of the wild horses, but was thrown and broke his leg. Again upon observing this, the farmer’s neighbors remarked: “How unfortunate!” The old farmer quipped: “Perhaps.” Eventually, the military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Noticing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer for having his son spared from being drafted. Can you guess how the old man replied?
In life, we just zero in on the unfortunate day and hour that seems to have ruined our lives totally. And we tend to generalize that because of one event, we are totally doomed. But just like that old farmer, we can graciously let time pass and find out what that particular event may bring into the scene. In my case, did that rain ruined/wreck my day, failing to go to places I needed to go to, missing the tasks I needed done? I guess, just like the old farmer I can just say to myself: “Perhaps.”
How about you, what is your “Perhaps” moment?
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