In the last post I talked of my former college tennis coach, David Fish. When I was in school, I, we would often lament any perceived misfortune. It got to the point that any net cord or any bad bounce had us asking “why?“ as if we were talking to Lady Luck, questioning her choices. Coach had obviously heard enough of our constant feeling of “luck not going our way” and told us a poignant story that sticks with me to this day:
There once was a farmer who needed his horse to till his fields. One morning this horse ran away, prompting his neighbors to sympathize and lament his misfortune. The farmer’s response was “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” Sometime later, the same horse returned with a herd of wild horses. His neighbors congratulated him on his good luck. The farmer’s response again was “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he was thrown from one of these horse’s back, and broke his leg. Everyone felt bad for the farmer and his son for his bad luck. Again, the farmer’s only response was “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” Several weeks later, the army came to their village and ordered for every able bodied to enlist. However upon seeing the farmer’s son and his leg in a cast, they asked that he not ‘volunteer’. Was this good luck? The story could go on endlessly.
However, the point of him telling us that story was so we would not be so short sighted as to decry every perceived instance of misfortune as ‘bad luck.’ As we learn from the story, what is deemed as ‘bad luck’ cannot be truly labeled as such. Who really knows?
I have thought much of this story since my surgery, as on the surface it may seem as if I have had ‘bad luck’. Before the surgery I was a fully functioning, tennis playing, physician-in-training, and now even traversing a small curb is treacherous. One might take one look at me and think bad luck. But my response would be “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” The reality is that none of us are fortunetellers, no one knows what the future holds, so no one truly knows how everything will turn out. Yes, maybe on my deathbed I’ll think boy that brain tumor was really bad luck, or maybe I’ll think I sure was lucky to get that brain tumor. This is not only exclusive to my situation and me, but is universal as well. Remember that the next time you think to yourself that was bad luck, and instead think bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?