All Shall Be Well

I often have a hard time distinguishing between what is good news and what is bad news.  When something happens that I perceive as unfortunate, it often turns out to be a blessing in disguise.  Because of this, I am trying not to judge situations too quickly.  I have encountered some stressful events recently, and I was beginning to worry about a lot of things that I was labeling as “bad news.”

As I was thinking about this today, I was reminded of one of my favorite stories.  It is from the Taoist tradition.  The story is about a wise old farmer.  For many years, he worked his field with the help of an old plow horse.   One day his horse ran away.  Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.  “Such bad luck, they said sympathetically.  “We shall see,” the farmer replied.  The next day the horse returned, bringing with it three young wild horses.  “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.  “We shall see,” replied the old man.  The following day, the old man’s son tried to ride one of the new horses, was thrown, and broke his leg.  The neighbors came to offer their sympathy, clucking their tongues over the farmer’s misfortune.  “We shall see,” was the farmer’s serene reply.  The very next day, military officials came to the village to draft all the young men into the army.  Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they left him at home.  When the soldiers left with all the other young men, the neighbors returned to congratulate the farmer on his good fortune.   The farmer only smiled.

The lesson that this story has for me today is to remain serene, no matter what is going on around me.  I do not see the big picture.  I can not control the uncontrollable.  Many times, the only thing that is within my control is my reaction to the situation.  I want my reaction to be calm and peaceful and deliberate, not hysterical and melodramatic.  I am learning not to jump to the conclusion that, just because something sounds like bad news, it does not contain a silver lining.

Today I was also reminded of the great wisdom of the mystic, Julian of Norwich, who wrote

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

I am glad to have been reminded of the Taoist story and this beautiful saying of Julian.  All will be well.  In the midst of any turmoil, I do not have to panic.  I do not have to stress.  I should not be so quick to label situations as bad news.  I can remind myself that all will be will.  I can smile and say “We shall see.”


12 thoughts on “All Shall Be Well

  1. Thank you for this! I enjoyed the parable and also the reminder of Julian of Norwhich’s words. I could not quite remember her words this week, but had that feeling of “all will be well.”

  2. That was lovely and I believe that life will balance out. After rain the sun will come out again. Much of life is beyond our immediate control, we can however work on how we respond to life and it’s ups and downs!

  3. Hello Belinda. I’ve always loved the farmer story Hearing it retold by yourself gives it an almost new meaning.
    Even as I’m reaching old age I don’t cope well in bad situations. This blog is so meaningful Thank you! You are Gr8

  4. Belinda,
    This very attitude has been a challenge for me all my life. Being the oldest of a family whose father was in the military and I therefore had to be “the missing parent” in many cases was difficult.
    Staying calm in the face of injury or news coming in the middle of the night ,,,,,,,so as not to upset the younger children.
    Then in my life as a parent myself, staying calm in the face of change or challenges was not always easy.
    Sometimes it was misunderstood as “not caring”.
    So, today I was glad to hear others have been challenged to learn to
    “stay cool” in the face of change.
    I have never been able to face change with “TRUE” happiness, but am learning and putting some of your sayings and quoting some of the verses you brought to mind.
    Thanks for reminding me that with the help of our DEAR LORD I can face challenges and grow even in my older years .

    • Thanks, Jo, for your words of wisdom. I struggle with this all the time, but I am happy to be able to look to wisdom from ages ago passed down to us. This is a life long challenge for me and I am glad that we are on the journey together. There is always strength in numbers. Thank you for walking with me. 🙂

  5. I love the parable of the Old Farmer, a friend of mine shared it with me some time ago. It takes discernment and a level of objectivity and trust to approach life in this way, but when one does, it becomes even more rich and full. Great post 🙂

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