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Arriving in windy Wellington in 2002 from sunny Durban was a complete shock to my system. Durban weather is usually hot and humid with tropical storms in the afternoon. Wellington is known for having four different seasons in one day but I came to appreciate this variable weather…..eventually. Why?
Well, however bad the weather was, I knew that it would be changing soon so stick around bro something different is a coming! Waking up in the morning it could be raining like crazy and I would smile to myself knowing that the sun could well be shining by the afternoon or …..there could be an earthquake!
Life is a bit like that. It reminds me of the saying ‘this too shall pass’, a phrase which seems to have originated in the writings of medieval Persian Sufi poets and was used in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became president.
On September 30, 1859, Abraham Lincoln included a similar story in an address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in Milwaukee:
‘It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!’
Lincoln however did go on to finish the speech saying he hoped some things would not quite pass away but you get the picture.
When my brother passed away in 2003, it knocked the stuffing out of me. What followed was the toughest two years of my life. Most people who know me would say I’m a fairly tough cookie but nothing prepares you for that. You experience feelings you have never felt before and it’s impossible to believe you will ever feel happy again but….eventually you do.
You don’t really get over the death of someone close to you but you are able to assimilate the experience and move forward in a positive way. This is not to minimise tragedy or diminish in any way the experiences people go through but for most people, there is a moving on and a moving through to a happier place.
On a more basic, fundamental level, think about your own body, your skin – not to gross you out but it takes roughly one month for new skin cells to get all the way to the top layer, meaning the skin you have a month from today will be completely new compared to the skin you have now. Life changes, seasons change, in spite of yourself you always changing, it’s inexorable.
Therefore, the only constant is change and this is both empowering and reassuring. For whatever you are going through now, whatever you are feeling, good or bad will pass. You will not always feel the way you do at this moment. The situations you are in will resolve themselves and different ones will take their place. It’s when we get locked into a mind-set of thinking we will always feel the way we do now especially if that is sadness or anxiety, that things become problematic. You won’t.
Life goes up and down like waves…this too shall pass my friend.
‘You have to accept the fact that sometimes you are the pigeon, and sometimes you are the statue.’ Claude Chabrol – French film director
Take care and be kind to each other