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This Too Shall Pass

Thoughts on the consistency of changes.

I’ve heard the phrase, “This too shall pass”,  a bazillion times at least and typically it arrives from well-meaning, and wise friends in a time of complete duress.  But there’s one thing I’ve never contemplated much about this phrase. It doesn’t apply solely to the negative.

For years I thought it was a biblical phrase, but alas, it is not. It’s traced back to a proverb from approximately 1200AD. Its legend is said to have derived from a Persian ruler who asked his “wise men” to provide him with a quote that would be applicable always in all situations. After much deliberation, the wise men returned with the phrase, “This too shall pass.”

The philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only thing that is constant is change. ” And there could never be a statement more true. But think about it. It doesn’t just apply to the difficult moments in our lives, it applies equally to those joyous moments we wish could last forever.

I just put my whole world on a plane headed back to a good five states away from me. To say that there is this massive, aching hole in my heart that feels like it will overcome my entire being at any moment is a grotesque understatement. I have never known real love until I met those two when their newborn little eyes stared back up at me in completeness. They made me whole.

Being a mother has been the one true honor of my lifetime. And why God chose me for those two, boggles my mind. But he did.

Ever since I divorced 12 years ago, my time with them was immediately cut in half. Now, I get it. It’s no fault of their own and fully and wholly the fault of their father and me. But I never regretted my divorce. Not even for a tiny little second. I know many would disagree, but it was the right thing. Not a single tear was shed.

But for kids caught in the middle, plenty of tears were shed. Somehow, we found our way and by the grace of God, we did okay. However, every single time I’m with them, I feel like the time is exactly like when the Starship Enterprise hits warp speed. But it’s more than just spending time with them, it’s them growing up.

We’ve reached the point where my daughter is looking for colleges. She will be gone in less than a year. And although I know they are never really ‘gone’, it is a big change. And things will never remain the same. That’s exactly how life is. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all pass.

I love what I affectionately call those “mountaintop” moments.  I learned it while I was still in the ministry. Yeah, don’t laugh, I know. But anyway, it referred to Moses going to the mountaintop and spending time with God. Eventually, however, he had to come down the mountain. And then he had to deal with all the bullshit happening at the bottom of the mountain like golden calves etc.  It sucked. You just got to hang out with God this whole time and then you have to come back to REALITY!

Even when I had my kids week on and a week off, I remember every time that first night they were gone, my soul ached.  It was always so quiet and hated it as I hate it now. Don’t get me wrong. There were times when I wanted to kill them and couldn’t wait to get rid of them! When my son, who is my second child, was only 8 months old, I went to Europe. He had managed to not sleep and cry for the entire first 8 months of his freaking life. So the second the invitation came, I was gone.

It turned out to be a blessing because I started him on formula when I left and that did the trick. His stomach didn’t like whatever the heck I was making. So we all enjoyed our time apart and it was a win/win. I got a vacation and he got to live.

But then they grew up and now when I’m with them, I feel like I’m just hanging out with friends. I never get tired of their noise and laughter and ability to go through every towel and every glass in the entire house in one day.

It really is true the one constant in life is change. But there are definitely these times in my life, especially of late, that I wish I had a pause button. Because life is so good. And it sucks coming back to reality.

That’s the tricky thing about God. It’s all about the mountains AND the valleys. And I don’t think I’d appreciate the mountains so much without having gone through the valleys. Now more than ever in my life, God gives me these amazing mountains. I appreciate them so much I just want to hang on. But that is the biggest secret of all.

You can’t hang on. You have to let go.

And you have to do it constantly and consistently because that’s when the mountains return because life is this constant ebb and flow. Even sunshine burns when we get too much.

Enjoy the moment. Even the hard ones. They make the good moments so much sweeter. And the bad moments are much more palatable when you know another amazing moment will show up, and sometimes the very next day.

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