“….. but I shall toss my head and have nothing to say to them. Forgetting all about the pail, and suiting the action to the word, she tossed her head. Down went the pail, all the milk was spilled, and all her fine castles in the air vanished in a moment!” (Source: The Milkmaid and Her Pail, Æsop’s Fables, translated by V. S. Vernon Jones (London: W. Heinemann; New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1916), pp. 25-26.)
While some of us may heard of the fable of “The Milkmaid and Her Pail”, others may have read of similar tales of other variants like Bidpai’s “The Poorman and the Flask of Oil”, “The Barber’s Tale of his Fifth Brother” from The 1001 Nights and the Jewish story of “The Dervish and the Honey Jar”. Essentially all these resonate the moral of ” Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.” Yet these fables bring to my mind, the dangerous turn of our thoughts and dreams which turn from being simple to lofty leading to depression, anxiousness and the unending pursuit for “the pot of gold” harming our health, mental peace and happiness in the process.
For instance, we all have suffered from depression, nerves, anxiousness, worries, stress at some point of time. What do all these have in common besides harming our mental peace and happiness ? They all arise from a combination of thoughts. We ponder of something that is yet to happen, guess the course of events and combine one thought, then the other and then the third and so on and so forth. We are all puzzled on how everything will happen or what will happen in one way or another. In the end, the result surprises us as the Lord arranges things in a different way. In such a scenario, what was the point of experiencing the nerves and depressing or worried thoughts?
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phillipians 4:8)
When the thoughts of darkness surround us and surface to mind, turning to His Word helps to dispel the darkness and ward off the despair. When we turn to our Faith we destroy speculations and loftiness. As said in the Psalms, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)
On another note, we need to plan and foresee to achieve certain goals for the future but pure conjectures, speculations and lofty thinking don’t help our dreams but rather, crashes them putting them on hold. Learning to distinguish between thinking, planning and pure “counting of chickens before they hatch” is what life and experience teaches us.
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)