Maybe Yes, Maybe No

It's human nature to come to conclusions on limited evidence. Try something without succeeding and it's easy to say that you failed. Have a piece of bad luck and you may decide you're cursed. The tendency to decide the "moral of the story" is strong within all of us. But so often it turns out that we don't know what actually serves our ultimate growth at the deepest levels. What we thought was misfortune can later turn out to have been a blessing.

There's an old story about a poor peasant farmer who barely scraped a crop together each year with the help of his one son and one horse.  One day the horse ran away through an open gate, leaving him with no way to pull his plow through his field. His neighbor came over to comfort him because this was surely a terrible development, but the peasant was calm and merely said "maybe yes, maybe no".  

The next day the animal returned, leading a herd of wild horses, instantly making the farmer potentially richer than anyone in the valley.  His neighbor told him to rejoice because this was a wonderful thing.  Once again the man calmly said, "maybe yes, maybe no."  

That very afternoon his son was thrown from one of wild horses he was trying to tame, breaking his leg badly.  Now he would no longer be able to help the farmer tend the field, which would reduce their already meager harvest. The caring neighbor came to lend his assistance as best he could and talked sympthetically about how terrible this misfortune was.  Again the farmer simply repeated his familiar refrain, "maybe yes, maybe no."

The next day the army of the king came through the valley, rounding up every able-bodied young man to fight in a hopeless battle in which it was almost certain that most would die.  They spared the farmer's son due to his injury. The neighbor told the farmer how fortunate he was but again he only smiled and replied "maybe yes, maybe no". 

This story goes on forever for all of us.  The neighbor represents our mind while the farmer is the calmer, wiser soul. The mind is always deciding what is good and bad, but it doesn't know what is going to happen next. So when you find yourself getting uptight because you are sure something is bad, remember the wiser answer is often "maybe yes, maybe no".  The last chapter hasn't been written, so none of us know the ultimate outcome. That can be a mighty encouraging thought to keep close to you.


Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT is an Atlanta therapist, counselor and life coach.  He helps individuals and couples with their struggles, and has special interest in helping people heal the challenges that arise from chronic infidelity and sexual deception. 

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