Just like everyone else in the world, I have good weeks and I have bad ones. This one…not so great: Sick kid, two trips to the ER, fear of going to my mailbox to find the medical bills that I know will be lurking in there at some point soon. To say the least, I have had a somewhat problem-filled week.
There is only one thing that is getting me through it. And that is thinking over and over again, “This too shall pass.”
I don’t know who said it first. I just looked it up on Wikipedia and it turns out that they think it was a Persian. Probably some woman who was on her 12th hour of beating her laundry against a rock, cursing the fact that she still had to get dinner on the table, knowing that her husband was probably back at home, kicking back in some hay and having a beer (did they have beer way back then? I’ll have to look it up).
Anyway, I’ve found myself saying that over and over again this last week. Actually, I’ve found myself saying that over and over again for the last 4 years. And there’s a very good reason for that.
Because it’s true.
There are times when I look back and cannot believe that the things that have happened to me have had anything to do with the life I’m living now. It just seems like it happened to a different person. I’ve found myself saying to my mother quite often, “Can you believe that was me?” And she’ll shake her head in disbelief and reply, “I know.”
I think back to when my husband died, when I still had a child in a crib, a child who had just gotten out of a crib, and a child who was getting ready to start all-day school for the first time. There should be a word that means “overwhelmed times 20” (deliriously astounded?) because that’s where I was in my life.
I kept wondering how in the world I would make it through, how I would get to the next day the next week, or the next year. And eventually I realized something very important.
My problems were fluid.
My kids weren’t always going to be toddlers. They were going to grow up. Those days of not wanting to go anywhere because I didn’t have the energy to strap all three of those kids into their five-point harnesses and booster seats, gave way to hopping in the car with all three of them and backing out of the driveway while they all buckle themselves in.
Taking 20 minutes at the end of every meal to clean the floor after three young kids who seemed to have secret trap doors in their mouths that always allowed food to escape and miss napkins and bibs is no longer an issue because I can hand any one of them a broom and say, “Clean that mess up.” Trying to tie shoes, change a diaper, and kiss a boo-boo all at the same time doesn’t happen anymore and has been replaced by potty-trained shoe-tiers who can put their own band-aids on.
Just like my kids, my problems aren’t going to stay the same either. They’re going to change, some for the better, some not. I may have some of the same problems tomorrow that I have today, but for the most part, I’m either resolving them or they’re resolving themselves. And yes, new issues will come up that will either force me to figure them out or adjust to what they’re bringing to my life.
Life is change. It’s shifting, altering, and fluctuating right before us. So are problems. And usually the reason why we can’t see that is because the bigger the problem, the more gradual the solution. The problem of losing my husband 4 years ago and dealing with 3 toddlers is not the problem I have now. I don’t know exactly when it changed…it just did. Gradually. In its own time. On its own schedule.
So when I find myself so overwhelmed in the “now,” I remind myself that the “now” is changing all of the time. Tomorrow could look completely different. It could look better, it could look worse. But with every new day that dawns, the possibility of change rises with the sun. And that’s worth getting out of bed for.
Oh. And I just looked up when beer was invented. Wikipedia says that it was probably around 9500 B.C. Which means there was a good chance that that Persian woman’s husband was kicking back with a frosty one while she was working her fingers to the bone. And when that husband woke up the next morning, head aching and stomach churning from the primitive adult beverage he had consumed the night before…you want to know what he probably said?
“This too shall pass.”
Catherine Tidd 2012