I’ve always leaned on certain phrases whenever I’ve gone through challenging times. One of my favorites was “This Too Shall Pass,” which is attributed to King Solomon. I always took it to mean that no matter how the present moment is, it won’t last.
This phrase would come to mind when I was doing a tough workout, muscles shaking…this too shall pass. It has come to mind when I’ve been at work and struggling with a complicated issue or organization change. This too shall pass. It’s definitely come to my mind a lot this year, whether it’s things in my personal life or the things we’re all struggling with.
This too shall pass.
Recently, I began to view this phrase in a different perspective. It started when I was looking at pictures of my kids when they were little and I found myself getting a little sad. I miss having little ones and my husband and I always hoped that one day we might have another child together, but it was not meant to be. Then, another day, I found myself watching a video of Alaska and feeling SO homesick for life up there and I began to think about that phrase in a whole new way.
This too shall pass also applies to clinging to the good things in our lives or the way things were before a big change.
Everything, no matter how difficult or joyful…is temporary and I often cause myself almost as much unnecessary pain dwelling on good things that have passed as I do feeling like something difficult will never end. It’s important to enjoy the present moment when those wonderful times do come and it’s also worthwhile to enjoy looking back on happy memories, but it becomes counter-productive to dwell on what has passed in a way that makes me miss what’s good about the present time.
It’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking the past was some kind of pristine, perfect place and that change is always something that somehow worsens what was. Often this looks like trying desperately to return things to the way they used to be or expecting that we can recreate what was. The fact is that everything is always changing and that we often forget that the past wasn’t quite as ideal as we might remember. Change is natural and being stuck on a past time can get in the way of us adapting and finding joy in the present.
This too shall pass is becoming for me something deeper than it was before, a phrase that asks me to not cling to things, but simply experience them, whether that’s emotions or moments. It asks me to do what I can, but flow with what I can’t change or hold onto and just trust that where things in my life are being guided to is all for the good.