Everything is transient in life, have fun and stay strong
As I sat there with a burden in my heart too heavy for me to bear, the voice continued, 'I understand your pain but this too shall pass.
Life is never easy and it can beat you down a number of times. Each one of us develops or discovers a mechanism to survive the blows and come out stronger. I discovered mine in the darkest hours of my life.
At a time when I was too young to comprehend the enormity and multi-faceted impact of losing someone very dear, destiny had pried away my father from me. As I sat at his wake, broken and despairing, I thought I could never be happy again.
Through the haze of sorrow and anguish that enveloped me, I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder and a tearful voice whispering to me: 'This too shall pass'.
As I sat there with a burden in my heart too heavy for me to bear, the voice continued, 'I understand your pain but this too shall pass. With time you will heal and the pain you feel now will give way for fond memories of happy times spent with your father'.
I still wonder whether these words were really spoken to me or the phrase reached my subconscious mind in my half-wakeful state from the realms of time as nature's attempt at ameliorating misery.
At that point in time I refused to believe that I could be happy again and ever be my usual cheerful self.
The days turned to nights, weeks to months, seasons changed ..the world moved on unaffected by the sufferings of its people. Gradually I came to terms with my loss, I accepted the inevitable and unbelievably the raw pain receded and was replaced by soothing memories. I had moved on and re-learnt to be happy again!
This phrase has since stayed with me. The words capture the transient nature of the human state in all its entirety. Nothing in life is permanent, be it happiness or sorrow, suffering or cheer, success or failure. nothing is forever. In fact, life itself is ephemeral! When we live with this advertence, life's travails become more bearable.
'This too shall pass' became the anthem of my life, my weapon in this unpredictable, evanescent life. This anthem gives me the courage to hold on during difficult times. I keep my strength and patience until the waves of distress or sorrow wash over me and fade away.
Just as the dark night always breaks into a glorious dawn, the times of sorrow will pass to pave way for happiness. When we feel really low we need to remind ourselves that nothing much is permanent in this world, including our feelings. We are down in the dumps today but tomorrow will be better.
It's not that all our problems will be solved but we might find the strength to face our demons.
This anthem can also keep us grounded and humble. When life surprises us with unexpected bounties, we realise that 'this too shall pass'. Our happiness, so-called status, riches, etc. are all temporary companions. They may leave us just as they came into our lives. So live every moment by accepting this reality, keeping our ego and false pride under check.
We learn to be kind to one another so that our transitory existence in this frame of time and space becomes meaningful and purposeful.
We learn to value every moment and fully understand how precious it is, as that too shall pass, thus we learn to practice mindfulness.
'This too shall pass', is the message I have for myself and for others, especially for whose who feel daunted by life's struggles and uncertainties. Hang in there, times and circumstances will change for the better.
Life is such a wondrous thing that it needs to be given multiple chances to make itself better and appealing and that's what constitutes true success.
This phrase seems to have originated when an Eastern Monarch asked his men to write a sentence, which should be true at all times and in all circumstances. After travelling far and wide and soul-searching, they returned with the words 'And this too, shall pass away'. Couldn't have been more apt!
I could see a small sliver of happiness brighten up the clouds on the young girl's face as I shared my life anthem with her.
"I' d never looked at life that way. When anything unfortunate happened, my first thought would always be 'Why me?' and I would wallow in self-pity."
Life experiences teach us to treat life with equanimity and take things in our stride. It's our thoughts and responses to events in life which decide how we live our lives, not the events and circumstances.
As Mary Angelou said, "Nothing can dim the light that shines from within."
Annie Mathew is an educator and writer based in Dubai