A traditional Taoist story:
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.
“Who knows what is good and what is bad?” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Who knows what is good and what is bad?” 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.
“Who knows what is good and what is bad?” 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.
“Who knows what is good and what is bad?” said the farmer.
This is me. I’m different than you. I’m older, or perhaps younger. My hair is grey … yours may be a chestnut brown. I like t-shirts. You may prefer a suit and tie or a vibrant dress.
In the photo, my eyes are wide and my mouth agape. That could mean I’m angry, or excited … both normal expressions of being human.
In the deepest sense, I believe I’m the same as you. I bleed when I’m cut. I’m grumpy when I haven’t had enough sleep. I love and am loved. I yearn for peace and happiness and I want to be kind to my fellow man.
So … different and the same. Good. But nothing to do with good and bad, unless I’m hurting someone. There’s no evaluation of my value compared to yours. We all simply want to be happy.
A world away from such tenderness is the contraction that arises from “less than” – seeing some individuals or groups as inferior. A convenient target is the colour of our skin. How strange. I don’t revere people based on their covering. I cherish them based on their good hearts expressed as good deeds. Beneath the surface is where the truth lies.
We easily pick skin colour. Why not eye colour? “Mine are blue. Yours are a muddy green.” Or how about thickness of hair, breast size or penis length? It’s so ridiculous.
Maybe I should be a horse. As I hang out with my equine fellows, I can peacefully rubs shoulders with a massive Clydesdale and a tiny Shetland pony. Racehorses will come by to say hi and so will pack animals from the Rockies. Who cares how many hands high you are or the length of your mane?
Let’s just go run together through the fields.