Between despair in the present and hope in the future


A Zen master once wrote “No seed ever sees the flower.” We are all meant to begin things that will only come to fullness of fruit after us, writes Joan Chittister on NCR Online.

With those insights in mind, we have to ask how it is that two groups of people, bred from the same tradition, cut from the same social cloth, can possibly see the same agenda - the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council by bringing all facets of the church to recommit itself to the fulfillment of that council - so differently: one ripe with hope, the other thick with despair.

Then I remembered another story that may explain best the difference between despair of the present and hope in the future.

In this Taoist tale, an old peasant has only one son and one fine stallion with which to farm his land. All the other farmers in the valley pity him for his poverty but the old man says of his situation simply, “Bad event, good event, who knows?”

Then, one day, the farmer’s only stallion bolts from his hitching post and thunders up into the mountains, leaving the farmer and his son to do all the sod-breaking work by themselves. Neighbors commiserate but the old man says simply, “Bad event, good event, who knows?”

Suddenly, the next morning, the stallion races back down the mountain and into the corral, followed by a whole herd of wild horses. The neighbors are astounded by the man’s new wealth and congratulate him but the old man says simply, “Good event, bad event, who knows?”

Soon after, one of the wild stallions throws the son, falls on him and breaks his legs, crippling him for life. The peasants grieve such a loss but the old man says simply, “Bad event, good event, who knows?”

FULL STORY Good event, bad event (NCR Online)

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