Hello, my name is John. I have joined the “Bent, Not Broken” team and will be writing posts on a regular basis. Being an open blog for all walks of life, I feel it important to start with an introductory piece. This will allow you to understand my background in dealing with mental and emotional problems both in other’s lives and my own.

Two years ago, I separated from the US Navy where I worked as a Religious Program Specialist. I got to be in the heart of all emergency situations, helping with denominationally-specific last right sacraments as well as helping the survivors recover from shock and various injuries. When we were not having an emergency, I would set up services and counseling sessions. In my four years of active duty, I helped almost 3,000 people work through personal issues that span the spectrum of mental illness. Along with this, I have also defeated depression in my own life.

Now that you have a little information about me, I would like to leave you with an old Taoist Parable. This story has helped me work through a few things recently and I believe its message need to be spread:

There was once a Taoist farmer. One day the Taoist farmer’s only horse broke out of the corral and ran away. The farmer’s neighbors, all hearing of the horse running away, came to the Taoist farmer’s house to view the corral. As they stood there, the neighbors all said, “Oh what bad luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”

About a week later, the horse returned bringing with it a whole herd of wild horses, which the Taoist farmer and his son quickly corralled. The neighbors, hearing of the corralling of the horses, came to see for themselves. As they stood there looking at the corral filled with horses, the neighbors said, “Oh what good luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”

At that same time in China, there was a war going on between two rival warlords. The warlord of the Taoist farmer’s village was involved in this war. In need of more soldiers, he sent one of his captains to the village to conscript young men to fight in the war. When the captain came to take the Taoist farmer’s son he found a young man with a broken leg who was delirious with fever. Knowing there was no way the son could fight, the captain left him there. A few days later, the son’s fever broke. The neighbors, hearing of the son’s not being taken to fight in the war and of his return to good health, all came to see him. As they stood there, each one said, “Oh what good luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”

The meaning here is simple, we have no way of knowing what the future holds, but we do know it has its ups and downs always. So, who are we to say if anything is good or bad? Simply find comfort in the fact that life moves on no matter what is happening in your life, and, good or bad, it will pass. The only thing you can do about it is stay calm and carry on.