My children hate the answer, “maybe.” They assume that “no” is not far behind. Lately, the word maybe has become my best glimmer of hope.
Last month, we were surprised by news that our neighborhood was being redistricted and our children would be moved to a different elementary school. Above all the worry and anger, the echoing sound of “maybe” played over and over in my head.
I’ve stumbled across the following story several times in the last year. It has been attributed to both Zen Buddhism and Taoism, but it’s lesson is universal.
The Maybe Parable
Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
Three Cups of Perspective
While perusing a bookstore with my husband (a rare event for us these days), Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson practically jumped off the shelf. In the dusty recesses of my mind, I’m sure I had heard of this book. I couldn’t resist the cover image of three young Pakistani girls reading. If you’ve never read this, please give it a look.
The timing of this book entering my life more than four years after it was published was providential. The annoying issue of redistricting melted into trivia. My girls have incredible schools and absolute freedom to attend. I even talked with my eight-year-old daughter about the children in the world who don’t have schools. She seemed to relax about the prospect of change.
Maybe a new school isn’t such a bad idea after all. Maybe it will all work out for the best. Indeed, a few weeks after learning of the proposal, it was suddenly revoked. We are staying at the same school. Even if we had been moved, we were all prepared for a new adventure.
Just in Case I Wasn’t Paying Attention
Two weeks ago, I received a crushing blow to my already struggling retail business. After signing a contract with a major buyer and postponing my fourth quarter sales and marketing plans, I’ve learned that the buyer is trying to back out of the contract. Without these sales and no time to implement other sales plans, my year-end outlook is at a six-year low.
Maybe giving up on this opportunity will open new doors. Maybe it’s not quite over yet. Now that I’ve had two weeks to process the situation and to get over my initial anger, I’ve offered the matter up to God. And I am at peace with whatever the answer may be.
Mom Dare: Practice the power of maybe. Just as an enormous blessing often carries with it new burdens of responsibility, bad news can sometimes lead to a greater place of power and peace. When you feel the stress of resolving a problem, remember that sometimes a problem is really a blessing in disguise.
Grace and Peace.