Yesterday evening I lost the keys to my car during a bike ride. I got AAA to tow the car from my garage to the Toyota dealership where they could make a new key this morning. When I hadn’t heard from the dealership, I called to ask about the progress. They could not find my car anywhere!
I called the towing company, who had to call AAA, who had to call the towing company, who had to call the dealership, who had to call the driver, who finally realized that he’d mistakenly dropped my Prius off at the Nissan dealership nearby. The driver agreed to re-tow it to Toyota, but I thought, “What a pain!”
Then I remembered the Zen story called “Maybe.”
There was an old farmer who owned a horse. One day it ran away. His neighbors heard the news and came to offer the farmer condolences. “Such bad luck!”
“Maybe,” the old farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned with three other wild horses. “What great luck!” his neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe” the farmer said.
The farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses, but he was thrown off and broke his leg. Again his neighbors came to offer sympathy for the farmer’s misfortune.
“Maybe” he answered again.
The day after that, some military officials visited the village to draft young and strong men into the army. But since his son’s leg was broken, the officials passed him by. The neighbors were surprised how nicely things had turned out and congratulated the farmer.
“Maybe” was all he said.”
Fast forward back to 2013. Replacing my key would cost $500 and I had already spent half an hour tracking down my car. My girlfriend, being the caring and optimistic individual she is, suggested we go look along the bike path I had been riding one more time. I agreed, despite the fact that I had looked three times yesterday.
Lo and behold, she found my keys! I called the Toyota dealership and stopped the expensive process of re-coding the new key minutes before it began. The tow truck driver’s mistake saved me hundreds of dollars in the end.
My car was in the shop, so I had them check it out—with 120,000 miles it turns out there was about $1,000 worth of work to do. Bummer!
Maybe. A familiar story. Perhaps I saved money by taking care of the problems in advance. Perhaps I ended up spending more than necessary. Perhaps it’s all worth it for the inspiration to this article. Will it end in smile? In a frown?
Can I get beyond the emotions and feel that deeper peace outside of life’s circumstances?