This, Too, Shall Pass
Photo by Brook Hollis
Me – “I love you.”
Tye – “I love you more.”
Me – “I love you most.”
Tye – “No, I love you more than that. And I will love you more until you’re a
zombie. But that’s not right now. That’ll be a long time away.”
Driving my kids to school a couple of weeks ago, the traffic backed up beyond the point where the road curved over the horizon. I knew we’d be late. Trying to prevent a crappy mood, I inhaled deeply and thought to myself, “This, too, shall pass.”
That same morning, my husband rushed around the kitchen, scowling. Nothing could be said or done to help him. When I tried, I became part of the problem. He needed space to be alone in his grumpiness – time to get over himself. Knowing that he was going to be leaving town the next day, I desperately wanted him to be in a difference emotional place, but that wasn’t for me to make happen. All I could do was remove myself from his circle of crankiness and think, “This, too, shall pass.”
In April of this year, my sister and her boyfriend of 5 years broke up. It was one of those really strange breakups where you don’t really quite know what went wrong. It just did. I cannot count the number of times I wanted to hold her while she cried on the phone. I could offer no words of wisdom, no solace, no appropriate comfort. All I could do was tell her I loved her and say, “This, too, shall pass.”
Then last night, a close friend of mine lost his baby sister to alcoholism. She wasn’t even 40 yet. Life offered no explanation as to why she couldn’t stop. Why no one could reach her, though they tried. She just kept tipping back that bottle for solace she couldn’t find anyplace else – and just like that… she was gone. While she was still alive, my friend and I talked each time she landed in a hospital. We hoped and prayed that each worsening episode would be her last, because her addiction would somehow pass. But it didn’t. And because her addiction wouldn’t pass, she did. Now, I can only share with him my love and my comfort, knowing that the lack of answers makes his loss that much more excruciating.
As bad as his pain is, though, I know the deep bite will eventually lessen. Because this, too, shall pass.
This, too, shall pass.
Not that we ever forget our pains. Our tragedies. Our life lessons. We don’t. But, thanks to the gift of Father Time, we forget the intense pain that we feel immediately after a tragedy occurs. “This, too, shall pass” becomes a tag line of survivors. A quote that we tell ourselves not only when having a bad day, but also during the worst seasons of life. Just to get by.
This morning, my 5-year-old son was in a really clingy space. Physically, he could not be close enough to me. He wouldn’t even get dressed unless he was sitting within 3 inches of my feet, which made it very difficult to flip an omelet. I kept asking him to move back. I didn’t want to trip on him. I didn’t want to hurt him. I didn’t want to fall. For the sake of everything that is good in this world, just MOVE BACK A FOOT!!! He began to cry as my volume increased, and I found myself moving slowly from frustrated with HIM… to frustrated with me. Here sat this sweet little boy who wanted nothing more than to be near me. Suddenly, I was hit by the weight of my own mantra. “This, too, shall pass.” Right now, for only a few more brief moments in time, this child wants to snuggle. He wants to sit in my lap. He wants to be my baby.
But this, too, will pass.
It won’t be long before he’ll probably want me to drop him off a block away. He’ll probably wipe away my kisses. He’ll probably roll his eyes when I tell him I love him.
And yes, that, too will pass.
It all passes by so quickly. Every time they say or do something wonderful, I think I’ll remember it forever. But I don’t. Sometimes, the memory is gone before the sun sets. Time does not have a pause button. Time heals, this is true. The wounds of my childhood and the mistakes of my young adulthood have faded, but so will the moments I wish could last forever. Those times when my son nearly tripped me because his love was so tangible that he couldn’t stand having space between us. Those memories will also fade with time.
As will his desire to be my baby.
All this went through my mind as I stood at the kitchen island, fighting tears. I slumped down to the floor next to my 5-year-old and told him I was sorry for getting angry.
“Do you still love me?” he asked.
“More than you know, baby.”
I hugged and rocked him until his tears faded, wanting the moment to last forever.
But this, too, shall pass.
So I will cling to it as long as I can.