There’s a story about an old man who was often sought out for advice and was greatly admired for his wisdom.
One day a young man thought he would be smart and outwit the sage. He found a small bird that had fallen out of the nest and, grasping it in his hand, he decided he would say to the man, “Is this bird dead or alive?”
His trick was that if he said, “It’s alive,” he would give it a quick squeeze and show him the dead bird. But if he said it was dead, he would open his hand and let the bird fly away. Either way he would be right.
He approached the man with the bird and asked:
“Mr. Wise Man, is this bird dead or alive?”
Without looking at his hand the old man replied: “It is whatever you want it to be.”
On so many issues of life and death, growth and decline, it is a matter of whatever we want them to be.
The answer is in our hands.