Is divorce “bad?”

We like to label things. Either things are “good” or “bad.” Marriage? Good Divorce? Bad. Or . . .

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. He needed that horse to work his farm. One day his horse ran away. When his neighbors heard the news, they said sympathetically, “such bad luck.”

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors said, happily.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, the old man’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses. He was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors came to offer their sympathy on his horrible misfortune. “How terrible,” said the neighbors.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after this, the military came to the village to draft young men into war. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they did not take him. The neighbors said to the farmer “How wonderful! Your son is saved!”

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

It’s extremely difficult to just be in the present moment, where things just are. Our Western minds and our microwave, gogogo, nownownow culture likes labels and speculation about whether this thing that has happened is good or bad.

What if we just breathe deeply and slowly. Again. Again. We take great joy at labeling “good” so why wouldn’t we also jump to label divorce “bad?” But the next time you want to do that, think for a moment about the old farmer. We don’t always know. And maybe we’re happier being in the now, where things are usually pretty ok.

Are you happier when you stay in the present? Did you ever realize that something bad turned out ok? Let me know in the comments below.