Monday, February 06, 2006

A Child, An Old Man, & A Donkey

I know I've had Jessie & Stevie on my mind alot the last few days and last night when some friends were voicing their varied but very strong opinions about certain subjects, I found myself tuning out and reaching back -again- to an old fable mama told me once.
I remember very well when I was planning my own wedding. Just like I knew I would get a job at 16, and if I wanted to go to college I would have to pay for it - I knew the wedding would be mostly my expense. In return, my parents treated me as an adult and respected my wishes for the wedding plans. However, there were others who were not so agreeable. I remember the day I took mama to the grocery store and on the way home I started unloading all my little trivial problems on her. She just listened for awhile and then she told me two things - and one was this fable that I fall back on from time to time when I feel storms brewing. You have probably heard it or one very similar - I'm sure I've told it to my kids, but who knows if they ever really listen (ha ha) - I've also repeated it to others who have been discouraged by unkind comments - I figure it never hurts to hear it again now and then:
There once was an old man, a child, and a donkey setting out on a journey. The old man took the child and placed him on the donkey and they started out. As they approached the first town people came out to watch them and began making comments - "Why does the child get to ride and that poor old man has to walk." So the old man set the child down and he rode the donkey and they went on to the next town. Again, people came out to watch them and made comments - "Why does the old man get to ride and that poor child has to walk." So the old man pulled the child up on the donkey with him and they rode into the next town. Once again, the people came out and the comments were, "Look at that poor donkey - he has to carry both an old man and a child." So the old man and the child climbed down and they both walked with their donkey into the next town. The people there came out and laughed and pointed and said, "Look at that stupid old man and child, walking when one of them could ride the donkey."
Of course, the moral is that it's impossible to please everyone so instead of stressing yourself out trying to - just ride out the storm and make your own choice. It doesn't really answer any questions but it's helpful to me to sometimes just remember that. It's like another of my favorite quotes "Sometimes the Lord calms the storm; more often He lets the storm rage and calms the child."

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