According to the scholarly source, Wikipedia, that oft quoted phrase, "this too shall pass," apparently comes from Persian Sufisim. There is a poem by which a fabled king is humbled by these simple words. Another Sufi version has this proverb inscribed on a ring which gives the wearer the ability to make the happy man sad and vice versa. Interesting, I admit. What power does this ancient phrase hold today?
I recently found myself giving this phrase to a co-worker during one of those brief coffee-pot conversations. It appears fairly innocuous on the surface, like cocktail wisdom when one needs a quick word of re-assurance. But again, I ask the question: does this actually mean anything today?
"And this too shall pass."
When I consider the roller coaster that I have been riding non-stop for several years, it strikes me as almost callous and the power to yield an unintended effect of negativity. I seriously doubt that most who employ this phrase have that intention; moreover, it is such an easy expression to use that its efficacy appears muddled at best.
"Yes, this too shall pass."
I am guilty of longing to achieve my goals at the expense of neglecting the journey to get there. Sadly, I have missed out on so much in life with that narrow approach. Wishing an experience to simply pass on, I believe, misses the point regardless if the event(s) are positive or negatively impacting the sojourner. As I continue to live what I feel is a "tent-maker" sort of life, I am learning to accept that the here-and-now gives me time to inwardly digest the thing at hand. Unfortunately, there has been more bad than good. One can only be beaten down so much until lethargy creeps in. I fight that fight daily. Wishing things to pass is too easy, truly wishful thinking. The more I accept and own, the less difficult the things at hand become.
"All good things must come to an end. And the only certainty is death and taxes."
Perhaps. Perhaps the life we are called to live is one being filled with the moments of the journey, rather than the rush to our destination. I will always cringe when I hear fellow Christians say, "we live to go to heaven," and other such nonsense. As if our lives spent here is some sort of waiting room for a better life ahead. Bullocks! If this were true, Christ's eventual triumphant return would be sooner rather than later. Certainty can be fleeting, and perhaps that is what we really mean to say.
The Byzantine Gospel of Pentecost
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