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We shall see

Have you ever heard of a felix culpa? The two Latin words literally translate “a happy failure.” The term is used to refer to an unpleasant or unfortunate (negative) event that ultimately has a good (positive) outcome. In the Bible story of Joseph, after his jealous brothers sold him to slave traders headed for Egypt, the boy in Egypt ascended through the ranks until he became the second most powerful person in the land.

We know stories of someone who had a horrible accident but fell in love with a nurse at the hospital and they lived happily ever after. A Boy Scout once, on a school field trip to a hospital, volunteered to lie down on a gurney to have an X-ray made. The X-ray shockingly revealed a large tumor that necessitated an emergency surgery that saved his life.

There was an old farmer whose faithful horse one day ran off. Upon hearing the news, his neighbor said, sympathetically, “Such bad luck.” The farmer simply replied, “Maybe. We’ll see.” The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three wild horses. “How wonderful,” his neighbor exclaimed. “Maybe. We’ll see,” replied the old farmer.

The following day, the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off and broke his back. The neighbor again came over to offer sympathy on the farmer’s bad fortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men. Seeing that the boy was badly injured, they passed him up. The neighbor congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out after all. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

I’ll be the last one to stamp “a blessing in disguise” on someone else’s adversity. Nevertheless, true stories do sometimes end up that way.