Adapted from Sower of Seeds, FR. Brian Cavanaugh, Paulist Press, Bits & Pieces, June 22, 1995, pp. 2-3.
A sickly widow had two sons on whom she relied for financial support. One son sold umbrellas. The first thing the mother did every morning was to look out to see if the sun was shining or if it looked like it was going to rain. If it was cloudy, her spirits were good because there was a chance that it might rain and her son would sell some umbrellas. But if the sun was shining, she was miserable all day because no umbrellas would be sold.
The widow's other son sold fans. Every morning that it looked like rain, she would get depressed because without the sun's heat, no one was likely to buy fans.
No matter what the weather was, the widow had something to fret about.
While commiserating with a friend one day, the friend remarked, "Perk up. You've got it made. If the sun is shining, people will buy fans; if it rains, they'll buy umbrellas. All you have to do is change your attitude. You can't lose."
When that simple thought sank in, the widow lived happily ever after.