This Too Shall Pass

I never really thought about this in years past, but the season seems to be the time for changes, goodbyes, and new phases of life. We bid farewell to friends leaving for college and realize it is time to move forward and chase our dreams. Perhaps grasping that the year is more than halfway over makes us consider all that is yet to be done. Some people make transitions well, moving seamlessly from one stage of life to another. Some of us struggle more. I am very forward-thinking and embrace new ideas. It is the reality of those ideas that challenges me. Thinking new things and dreaming of new phases of life is easy; making it happen is sometimes terrifying.

For when all you feel is pain and  your world is suddenly so very dark, it is a comfort to remember that it will not be forever. We remind ourselves of life’s ever-changing course when we know we can’t endure the aching much longer. When you’re in the midst of a trial you might doubt this and wonder if the hurt will ever end. But experience teaches us that time does heal our wounds and puts our struggles in perspective.

While we’re ready to push the tumult away, we hold so tightly to the easy and pleasant seasons. You know how when you’re really happy and just in a beautiful time of life, and you think, “I want this to never end.” But deep down inside you know it will end. Sooner or later. It will fade away and something new will take its place. Because life changes–it is never standing still and sometimes the “becoming” of life seems far stronger than the “being.” It is difficult to learn how to let go of the now and embrace the future. It is hard to let reality turn into cherished memories. But we change–what we thought we could count on will suddenly not be important anymore. We are each constantly growing and learning who we are, and this impacts everything in our life. We wake up one day to find the world we once treasured is gone and something new has replaced it. We’ll grow to love the new, and then slowly it will change. Nothing really stays the same. Because we’re in the “not yet”–because we’re on our journey and someday we’ll reach that place where everything we love will be there for eternity.

This is something I’m slowly learning. I see now that my world is constantly shifting and changing, and that’s okay. It is not a reason to panic and doubt everything, it just means I need to adjust and keep going. I sometimes get an aching in my heart when I think about my life as it was once…I think about the people I knew and the person I was then. And there’s nothing wrong with having fond memories of your past. But there’s a grand adventure ahead of me–why try to recreate a world that’s gone when you can discover a new one?

And this happens on a smaller level too, on a day-to-day basis…when we have to leave the party and say good-bye (for the extroverts), or when we have to emerge from our lovely cave full of books and stories (for the introverts). Sometimes we get so focused on the ending of our happiness that we forget to enjoy it. We dread the goodbyes so much we don’t even say hello. As I haven’t quoted Doctor Who on my blog yet, at least that I can recall, I think it is acceptable to do so now. In one of the Christmas specials the 11th Doctor is spending the holidays with a widow and her two children. The children don’t yet know that their father has been killed in WWII. Their mother wants to wait until after Christmas to tell them, but meanwhile the sorrow is tearing at her heart and it comes out as anger towards her children. She doesn’t quite realize this, but the Doctor does, for he tells her, “every time you see them happy you remember how sad they’re going to be. And it breaks your heart. Because what’s the point in them being happy now if they’re going to be sad later? The answer is, of course, because they are going to be sad later.” And isn’t this so true? We have an opportunity to be happy right now. At some point your happiness will probably be threatened. Or you may know exactly when something dear to you will come to an end. You know that sadness will come eventually. But there’s no need to bring it on now. Enjoy every blessing God has given you at this moment. Because that’s all we truly have.

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