Life’s little fragments

In My Eyes: By Edward Antonio
I love reading books.

I love reading stories.

Stories help us understand the lessons this life gives or has to offer.

Sometimes they help us see ourselves more objectively, through the lens of the imagination.

Would you buy a house if you were only allowed to see one of its rooms? Would you purchase a car if you were permitted to see only its tires and a taillight? Would you pass judgment on a book after reading only one paragraph?

Definitely, the answer is no, fellas.

Good judgment requires a broad picture. Not only is that true in purchasing houses, cars, and books, it’s true in evaluating life. One failure doesn’t make a person a failure; one achievement doesn’t make a person a success.

“The end of the matter is better than its beginning,” penned the sage.

“Be…patient in affliction,” echoed the apostle Paul.

“Don’t judge a phrase by one word,” stated the woodcutter.

The woodcutter is that famous character in Max Lucado’s stories.

Lucado writes: “The woodcutter? Oh, you may not know him. Let me present him to you.

I met him in Brazil. He was introduced to me by a friend who knew that I needed patience. Denalyn and I were six months into a five-year stint in Brazil, and I was frustrated. My fascination with Rio de Janeiro had turned into exasperation with words because I couldn’t speak in a culture I didn’t understand.
“Tenhapaciência,” Maria would tell me. “Just be patient.”

She was my Portuguese instructor. But, more than that, she was a calm voice in a noisy storm. With maternal persistence, she corrected my pronunciation and helped me to love her homeland.

Once, in the midst of a frustrating week of trying to get our goods out of customs (which eventually took three months), she gave me this story as a homework assignment to read. It helped my attitude far more than it helped my Portuguese.

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before—such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused.

“This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them. “It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?” The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the villagers came to see him.
“You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone, and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”

The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?”

The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. Your horse is gone and stolen!”

The old man spoke again. “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it is, a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?”

(To be continued)