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Tibetan man with his yak  at Yangpachen, Namtso

Tibetan man with his yak at Yangpachen, Namtso

Gift #4:   April Showers bring May flowers

Everything has a season, Everything has a reason

Had Steve Jobs not been fired from Apple, he would not have met his wife, and bought Pixar, which made him a billionaire. [This is according to his commencement address.]

In Chinese, there’s an expression that comes close to the English idiom, every cloud has a silver lining. In every terrible circumstance, there’s a tiny sliver of hope of something good that may come as a result.

塞翁失马 [sai weng si ma, yan zi feifu]

The expression 塞翁失马 literally means Sai Weng lost his horse and comes from 《淮南子》written by Liu An in the Western Han Dynasty. An old man called Sai Weng lost his horse, but when others came to comfort him, he said, “I have only lost a horse, and this is not a big loss. Maybe something good will come of it in future.” And so it came to pass – a few days later, his horse returned followed by another good horse.

Although from the story my mom told me, it continues that one day, his son sat on the new horse and was thrown off this wild horse. His son became a cripple. When neighbours came to console him, how is he going to start his own family? No one will want a husband like that?  The man said, its not a big loss. Perhaps something good will come of it. Several years later, the country went to war with a neighbouring country, and all the able-bodied men in the village were enlisted. But because his son was a cripple, he was spared and able to marry a young woman of his dreams. Perhaps the story has other twists and turns.

Tibetan yak

Tibetan yak

The Chinese saying, is usually twined with a question “Is this good or bad?”

Was colonialism good or bad for Singapore?

When World War II came, and the British came, and the Japanese occupied Singapore, was it good or bad?

When Singapore was expelled from the merger, was it good or bad?

When the British withdrew from Singapore in 1971, was it good or bad?

As I looked back at my own life, whenever I face a setback, fear crept in. At times, I was even paralyzed with fear and depression. Be positive, pull yourself by your boot-straps, friends tell me. They are not wrong. But somehow I couldn’t muster the courage to positive thinking.

I’ve come to learn that adverse situations are pivotal circumstances and contain seeds of new growth = turning points. Life-changing experiences take place, when I’m not preoccupied with grumbling. I’m not trying to justify the works of evil people. They will be judged in their own time.  Whatever man meant for evil, God can turn it to good.

My response to such adverse circumstances in future?

Ask: What is the lesson that I am supposed to learn from this situation?  What is my responsibility? Did I contribute to this problem? What can I do differently? [Which leads me to Gift #5 – Learn something new.]
What do I have to mourn and move on?
10 years later, when I look back, what can I give thanks for now?
Are there qualities, growth that I have gained?

Having a routine helps in adversity. And friends.

What are the lessons adversity has taught you? Let me hear from you.

Don’t judge each day by your harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.  – Robert Louis Steveson

Do caterpillars smile? Does it know that its about to be transformed into a butterfly?
Or mainly concerned, just to live the mundane life?
And survive the moment by moment, escaping the city beasts that thong the sky.
I wonder.
Be encouraged, I tell my soul, today.

 

The Caterpillar by Christina Rosetti
Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk,
Or what not,
Which may be the chosen spot.

No toad spy you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again
A butterfly.

IMG-20150222-WA0005

Photo by L

 

“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be” – William Hazlitt

 

The best is yet to be by Robert Browning
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!
– Robert Browning