This too Shall Pass

"Really to see the sun rise or go down every day, so to relate ourselves to a universal fact, would preserve us sane forever." - Henry David Thoreau


A few days ago I watched a sunrise from start to finish. The event took over an hour from the moment I could see a hint of light on the horizon until the sun was in full view. For the whole time, I sat on a chair outside and just watched. I found the experience exhilarating and it made me think heavily on my life.

As I sat early one morning in the dark, I watched as the darkness started to give away. At first, it was nothing more than the slightest hint of light on the horizon. However, over time this light grew stronger changing the sky to lighter and lighter shades of blue. As I looked above the horizon and over my head, the light shades of blue gradually gave way to the dark where the light had yet to touch. Then, a white ribbon appeared along the horizon heralding the coming of the sun. Beams of light shone out creating intricate displays of yellow and silver on the clouds floating across the sky. The light seemed impossibly bright when compared to the dark that stood before it and I was expecting the tip of the sun any moment, but as the minutes went by the light got brighter and brighter until it was blinding and at that moment, the sun made its appearance, illuminating everything in its path with yellow and white beams breathing new life into everything.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience, and it occurred to me that this happens every morning, but I had never thought to actually sit and watch it. And despite the commonality of this event, nothing about what I was watching seemed common. I felt like waking everyone up, “do you realise what is happening, come and watch, this is amazing!”. And then a new thought occurred to me, it won't last. Eventually, the sun, after making its journey across the sky would set, plunging the world back into darkness and beginning anew the next morning.

And this made me think of life. We don't like to think about our lives moving on, our kids growing up or our families getting older and of course ourselves moving towards our own end. And it pushes us to latch hopelessly to things: our children, our youth, our wealth and possessions struggling endlessly in the hope that we can hold onto the good times, all the while living in anxiety of change and what the future may bring. But change comes never the less and far from that being a bad thing it can be very comforting.

Like everyone else I have had terrible moments in my life. Moments where I felt utterly trapped, a prisoner with a life sentence and no chance of parole. Moments, where I regret to say because of this hopeless feeling, I acted in ways that harmed myself and those around me. But, just like the cycle of the days, nothing can last forever. And as if waking from a nightmare, things changed and I found myself free from the stressors I thought would be with me forever. This truth is best epitomised by 4 words and something I try and say to myself regularly “this too shall pass”. No matter how dark your life gets, it won’t last forever, it will give way to something better.

But this isn't just a line to carry with you when things are bad, it is as important to remember and say to yourself when things are good. Now I know what your saying, "I don't want to be reminded when things are good that it won't last". And I get it, because I watch my own children growing older and remember the time when they were so small they could sleep comfortably on my chest. My son is still at that age where he thinks I am the strongest and smartest man alive. My daughter is at the age where if you ask her who she is going to marry when she is older she will say “my daddy”. And I find eyes welling at the thought of them growing out of these innocent thoughts, but this too shall pass. Far from adding a negative to every good experience it reminds me to relax, I can't hold onto it anyway and then I am at ease. And far from diminishing these experiences they flow through me leaving only happiness and gratitude .

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