One of my co-workers shared the following story with me and I thought I’d share it with you.
There were two angels (an older one and his younger apprentice) that were sent down to Earth. It was a cold, rainy day and the two angels (disguised as humans) knocked on the door of an old, rich man to ask for shelter. He grudgingly let them in and despite living in a grand mansion, he offered to let them sleep on the floor of his cold, dark basement. It was falling apart and there was a hole in one of the walls. The next morning, before the angels left, the older one fixed the hole. The young apprentice asked the older angel, “Why did you fix the hole?” The older angel replied, “Things are not as they seem.” The young angel did not like this answer but accepted it and they continued on their journey.
Next, they found themselves at the door of an old farmhouse. A poor farmer and his wife lived there and didn’t have many valuables except for a cow. When the farmer saw the angels (still disguised) shivering on his doorstep, he welcomed them into his home and let them sleep on his bed while he slept on the floor with his wife. The next morning, they woke up to find that their cow had died. The young angel was very upset by this. How could such a nice, generous couple have their only prized possession, their livelihood, taken from them while a grumpy, wealthy old man had his house repaired? He demanded answers from the older angel, who again replied, “Things are not as they seem.”
After some prodding the older angel went on to explain, “Yesterday, I fixed the hole in that old man’s house because he is greedy and I didn’t want him to find the stash of gold that is hidden behind in his basement.” The young apprentice agreed with this but was still outraged that the poor farmers had their cow taken from them. He asked, “Why did the poor farmers have to lose their cow?” To this, the older angel replied, “Last night, the angel of death came for the farmer’s wife and in order to save her, I had to sacrifice their cow.”
Everyone will have their own interpretation of what this story means to them. To me, it means that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge a person or situation at face value. Things will always be much more complex than they appear and sometimes we may never understand why people do the things they do or why a situation turned out a certain way. Therefore, we should practice patience and try to gather as many facts as we can to better understand a person or situation before passing judgement.