The past few months, I have been thinking about the parable of a Chinese farmer and his horse and how it relates to the coronavirus pandemic.

As the parable goes, there’s a farmer who has a horse and a son. One day, the horse runs away, and the neighbors come by to express their condolences to the farmer. “This is most unfortunate,” the neighbors say. 

“Maybe,” says the farmer.

The next day, the horse returned and brought 7 wild horses along with him. The neighbors remarked at the farmer’s good fortune.

“Maybe,” says the farmer.

The next day, the farmer’s son tries to break in one of the wild horses. The son gets thrown off the horse and breaks his leg. The neighbors tell the farmer, “That’s too bad.”

“Maybe,” says the farmer.

The next day, army officers come by the farm to conscript soldiers. The farmer’s son avoids conscription because of his broken leg, and the neighbors remark at the good fortune.

“Maybe,” says the farmer.

The point of the parable, as its author Alan Watts wrote, is this: “You never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.”

I relate that to our situation amid this pandemic. Certainly, the coronavirus pandemic has brought sickness, death and economic and personal hardships. That is tragic.

But I learned throughout challenges in my life that God works in mysterious ways. Some of the cruelest hardships I encountered made me a stronger, better person years later, even though I could not see that during my time of struggle.

Chicken Coop Vera Koo Pandemic
During quarantine my daughter, Shane, and her family built this chicken coop in just 3 days!

The Silver Lining 

As for this pandemic, my family is trying to find the silver lining. For Carlos and me, the coronavirus pandemic brought us closer together.

These past few months, Carlos and I have watched countless episodes of Chinese television shows in which the actors speak Mandarin. Carlos turned me on to the shows. For the past 20-plus years, we never watched television because we didn’t own a TV at home. That’s not to say that I didn’t watch TV when I traveled. We had active lives, and I was busy traveling for my shooting career. But this pandemic caused life to move at a slower speed, and Carlos set up an old TV set in our bedroom.

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