Thursday, August 13, 2009
Heads or Tails
I made a lot of wishes last night, even though I didn't see a single shooting star. It was kind of cloudy, and too, Tennessee Avenue is lined with trees. The heavy leaf canopy obscures most of the sky during the summer. But I made the wishes anyway. Why not?
Blog friend Barbara Martin tells me that she doesn't do well with shooting stars, an interesting point of view, isn't it? Her comment made me think about this irony - classically, comets are "bad" luck, while meteor showers (caused by the earth moving through tail debris from comets) are "good" luck. How does that work?
I'm not sure how to tell the difference between "good" and "bad" under any circumstances, including luck. In fact, sometimes what looks like good luck turns out to be very bad luck, and vice versa, of course. I think of those stories about lottery winners whose lives go down the drain because all that money is not good for them. There are lots of stories about people who lose everything. Subsequently those losses turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to them. Does that make any sense? It's beyond me.
Yesterday, blog brother Merle Sneed told a great story about luck, good and bad, oh yeah. No one sees the world more clearly than he does; it's a story well worth reading and contemplating.
Luck is luck, good and bad, yes? Maybe luck is nothing more than a surprise, a circumstance in which something changes suddenly, as if from out of the nowhere. When we're "feeling lucky," we welcome the spinning wheel of Lady Fortuna. When we're not feeling so lucky, we close the curtains and hunker down, as Barbara Martin did last night. But what makes us feel lucky or unlucky? Do you know?
I think I heard this story from the fabulous Rabbi Manewith:
A father and his son owned a farm. They did not have many animals, but they did own a horse. One day the horse ran away. “How terrible, what bad luck,” said the neighbours. “Maybe,” replied the farmer.
Several weeks later the horse returned, bringing with him four wild mares. “What marvelous luck!” said the neighbours. “Maybe,” replied the farmer.
The son began to learn to ride the wild horses, but one day he was thrown and broke his leg. “What bad luck,” said the neighbours. “Maybe,” replied the farmer.
The next week the army came to the village to take all the young men to war. The farmer’s son was still disabled with his broken leg, so he was spared. “What good luck!” said the neighbours.
You tell me, what's good luck? What's bad luck? And more important, does anyone know if my wishes are going to come true? Well?