An old farmer had a horse. One day it ran away and his neighbours offered sympathy.“What bad news”, they said.My hubby had been due to start a new job on Monday. He was sorting out his suit and shirt on the Sunday evening when he suddenly lost the use and feeling down one side of his body. This only lasted for a few minutes, but we called an ambulance and he was rushed to A and E. The medics said he had probably had a TIA, which is a temporary mini stroke, but anyone having one is considered at high risk of an imminent full-on stroke.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied, “but we don’t know the whole story yet.”
The next day the horse returned, bringing with it three wild mares. The neighbours said: “What great news!”
The farmer simply said: “Maybe, but we don’t know the whole story yet.”
The next day the farmer’s son was thrown by one of the mares while trying to tame it, and broke his leg.
“What bad news,” the neighbours said.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied again. “We don’t know the whole story yet.”
The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to draft young men into the army. They took away all the neighbours’ sons, but left the son of the farmer because he was unable to walk.
The neighbours were desolate at losing their sons, who they feared would go off to die in a war, and were envious of the farmer because he still had his son at home.
But the farmer said, “Let us all wait and see what happens – we don’t know the whole story yet.”
He spent all Monday having tests at the hospital. The results that came back seemed to indicate that he didn't have a TIA. The doctor he saw said the tests hadn't shown exactly what had caused his symptoms, but suggested a rare type of migraine aura. The migraine itself struck later that day.
But, of course, he had to phone up to delay the start of the new job - and was promptly told that the company had decided to terminate his contract before he started. Apparently they weren't happy with employing him after his medical emergency.
So, good news or bad? Obviously I am very relieved my husband did not have a stroke. I'm also relieved he didn't get that job. Does that sound strange? Well, the money would have been nice - at the moment we are both living on my meagre freelance earnings (neither of us is on benefits) - but we'll survive. My relief is because I think my hubby had a narrow escape from working for a very unsympathetic company.
But, of course, none of us know the whole story yet. The message of that Taoist tale is to take each day as it comes, go with the flow and appreciate our own unfolding life story without trying to anticipate the ending. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
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