How do we face misfortunes in our lives? Have we ever thought of the plight of the Palestinian and Lebanese war refugees and all others in similar situation around the world?

There was a story of a man in ancient China who used to breed horses for a living. He has become known in his trade that the rich and famous, would consider his name as a byword for quality horses. One day upon walking up, he was shocked to see that his most priced horse has escaped from the stable. He searched for it earnestly but to no avail. He was so sad that he almost cursed that day. Moreover, he found out the following morning that his horse came back with five other stray horses. It made him very happy and rejoiced with his family and friends. The misfortune turned out to be a blessing. He thought he lost one, and now he has five more! They were still celebrating when one of the horses kicked the man’s only son when it tried to touch its shining mane. The boy fell with severely broken ribs.

Soon his jubilation turned to grief so he cursed that day even more. He lamented that he would never desire more, if it would just only cause his son’s life. Probably, it was pure luck that made his son escape death. Nevertheless, the tragedy prompted the man to stop breeding horses, worst; he harbored so much hatred for their kind. Until one day after many years, an imperial edict came requiring every family to send a male member for military conscription. War has broken out and the country has to muster a huge army. The man became very depressed. How could he allow his only son to join the army, when it would mean his sure death? He was so downhearted. However, as soon as the officers learned that the boy has broken ribs, he was immediately exempted. The man was greatly overjoyed. He went around blessing every horse he sees, specially the one that kicked his son.

Such story may well be considered more of a fairytale than a true life event. Nevertheless it poses a very realistic presentation of life in the family, and in general. Who would say for example that the evacuees from areas affected by natural disasters around the world take their situation lightly because in the first place such catastrophes have happened already many times? In the same manner, who would opine that refugees in Lebanon or in Plestine are no longer burdened by their plight because war is a common scenario in the Middle East? We all suffer tragedies and meet disasters in many varied ways. No one is exempted from this fact and I believe, all of us complain. We would even ask God why He allows them, as St. Augustine did concerning the presence of evil in the world. We even come to the point of questioning whether there is really God.

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