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Beau's Journey » 2007 » December » 23

Archive: December 23rd, 2007

December 23, 2007: Misfortune?

  I have posted this story several times on my web-site.  I heard it again last night in the movie "Charlie’s War".  I always keep this story close in my thoughts.  I found it to be the most true parable that I have ever heard.


Misfortune…By Max Lucado

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 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. Yours 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.”


December 23, 2007: WINDY!!!

  Wow – what a wild night of wind.  The pressure gradient behind that storm system was and is AMAZING.  Rapid pressure drops and rises are being reported across Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.  Winds gusted over 50 mph at the NWS Office in Paducah.  Wind damage was reported across McCracken County.  Winds of nearly 70 mph hit Chicago.  Numerous reports of wind damage have been received across the State of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin/Michigan.  Near blizzard conditions are also being reported in portions of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  Nasty little storm!

  Had a wonderful lunch the other day with Sue.  She brought me the most wonderful gift – some photographs that she made into notecards.  I will certainly treasure them!  She is fast becoming or has become a talented photographer.  I told her not to forget the little people when she becomes famous!!!!!  🙂

  Went out with the family yesterday and watched the new Treasure Movie.  It was OK.  I think I liked the first one better.  National Treasure.  🙂   We had a blast at Applebees afterwards.  Always entertaining to get together with the kids.

  Cold this morning…it is chilly in here.  I guess that is because I don’t have the heat on and slept with the window open.  I love being cold at night and covering up with a bunch of blankets!  That is the only way to handle winter.  🙂  Works for me at least!

  I might drive up to Paducah to check out some houses later.  I don’t think I have ever been more torn over a decision on where to live.  I have looked at big houses, small houses, medium size houses, houses in the country, houses in the city, houses in other counties!!!!  I guess it will happen when it happens.  Debating the whole downsize idea.  I want something errr life to be a bit more simple.  Doesn’t everyone want that though?  🙂  Just have to figure it out.

  Now this is a cool car!