What Will Tomorrow Bring?




There is an old story about a poor farmer who has but one horse with which to plow his land, eke out a living and feed his family. Being advanced in age he is also wise. One night his horse wanders off into the wild. The next morning the farmer goes searching and cannot find his horse. Word spreads through the district, and that night all the other farmers visit him to console him in his misfortune. He just says, "we'll see what tomorrow brings!" Several days later the farmer discovers that his horse has returned, having been followed by a mate! The farmer now has two horses, a wealth unheard of in those parts. News spreads rapidly amongst the other farmers, who come to praise his good fortune. Again his response is "we'll see what tomorrow brings!" The next morning the farmer's son is trying to break in the new horse and is thrown. The son's leg is broken and he is in danger of dying from blood poisoning. Word spreads quickly about the evil horse who has come to take the farmer's son away. Again, the farmer is heard only to say, "we'll see what tomorrow brings!" The next week the local tyrant comes marching though the district, forcibly recruiting all the young sons to go off to a war he wants to wage, except he cannot take the farmer's son, who having survived still cannot walk. That evening the other farmers praise the wise farmer's luck that his son won't be taken off to war. "We'll see what tomorrow brings!" Not long after this, the army returns, and not one son has born even the slightest injury. In fact, each has helped to raise his own socioeconomic plight by having made contacts outside the district, except the wise farmer's son who couldn't go and on and on the story goes. You just never know where you are in the story of your life.

Another story is about an old rabbi living in a small village. It is well known that every morning he gets up early, crosses the square to go to the temple to pray. One day the village policeman on early duty sees the father approaching. The policeman is in a bad mood, disgruntled from a short night's sleep. He knows the rabbi is usually in a good mood, so he thinks to speak with the father to cheer himself up. "Good morning father, how are you?" The rabbi replies, with a big smile, "just fine, just fine." The policeman asks "where ya headed?" And the father says "I don't know." The policeman can't believe it, thinking maybe the father didn't hear him. So he asks again "father, what I meant was where are you going?" Again "I don't know!" At this the policeman snaps, saying "listen father, I am entitled to know where you are going and if you can't give me a civil answer, I'll throw your heels in jail for 24 hours. So I'll ask you one more time, where are you headed to?" Unbelievably, the father says "I don't know." So the policeman hauls him off to jail. Just as he is about to close the cell door, the rabbi looks up at him and says "see, you never know!"

None of us knows the future, and when that future arrives, we still will not know the future after that. And since you DO NOT KNOW the future, like the wise farmer you do not know ultimately whether your current experience will be fortunate or unfortunate. Since this will not change, it will serve you well to learn to maximize the quality of life in the present. That's what my offerings are all about!
© 1998
 Mark Shafer  


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