I want to share with you a Sufi tale that my friend shared with me when I was worrying about whether or not I would be offered a job at a company I had recently interviewed at.
Sufism has been described as a religious branch of Islam, but others claim that it is more of a philosophy that pre-dates religion. In short, it can be summed up as Islamic mysticism and holds some interesting beliefs on spirituality and self-actualization. Although I am not a religious person and Sufism is not something I practice or even know much about, I found this story to be one worth remembering and applying to my own life.
I am the type of person who likes to have a plan, likes to know what is going on, likes to have a backup plan if my original plan doesn’t work out, etc. This way of life has been beneficial to me in many ways but it has also caused me a lot of anxiety from trying to predict the unknown. This story helps me remember that although things can seem bad in the moment, these “bad” situations can often pave the way for better things to come.
Once upon a time there was a farmer who lived outside of a main village. He lived with his son and owned a wonderful horse. This horse was so amazing that the King had asked the farmer to come in to the village so that he could see it.
When the King saw the horse he offered a large amount of gold to have the horse for himself – but the farmer declined the offer.
The next day the horse ran away. Everyone who heard the news said, “Oh how horrible your horse is gone and you do not have the gold you were offered for it!”
To this the farmer replied, “I do not know if this is horrible, I only know that my horse is gone and I have no gold.”
The next day the horse returned with 5 other beautiful horses – all worth as much gold as the original horse.
Everyone cried, “Oh, you were right, it is good that your horse ran away because now you have more horses all worth a lot of gold.”
To this the farmer replied, “I do not know if this is good, I only know that I now have 6 horses.”
The next day the farmer’s son was trying to train one of the new horses and he fell off and broke his leg.
Everyone heard the news and said “How awful that these new horses caused your son to break his leg.”
To this the farmer replied, “I do not know if this is awful, I only know that my son has broken his leg.”
Later in the week there was to be a battle with a neighboring country; all the young and healthy men were focred to go to war. The farmer’s son was unable to go to battle because of his broken leg.
To this the farmer replied, “I do not know if this is good, I only know my son cannot go to battle.”
And so it goes on…