Saying a new thing? Or an old thing in a new way?
|Resiliency: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. from Merriam Collegiate Dictionary
And This, Too, Shall Pass
by Marilyn Mackenzie
Inspiration comes from many sources. Just wandering outside, drinking in the ever-changing beauty of God’s world around me, oft times inspires me. The chirping birds and meowing of neighbors’ cats, or the heat of the sun on my arm might cause my brain to start spewing out endless words, 'prose art' a friend called it recently. Reading the Bible, or great classical literature, or the works of famous poets might also cause my hand to perform in a writing frenzy.
Last evening, I searched the works and quotations of great men and women of old for inspiration. A quotation from Abraham Lincoln caught my attention.
"It is said an eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him with the words, ‘And this, too, shall pass.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!"
I agree with Old Abe. This small phrase speaks volumes. It’s one we often use as a reminder to one in the midst of turmoil. It's probably been used here about pain and trials. "And this, too, shall pass."
But Honest Abe reminded me that the phrase is true and appropriate in all situations. We're reminded that happy times, joyous times, are often not permanent either. That being the case, we certainly must rejoice and dance during those times of festivities.
We must "stop to smell the roses" as we pass them along life’s pathway, for before we know it, those flowers will wither and die. We mustn't neglect time with loved ones, nor ignore our friends, for all too soon their lives or our own may come to an end.
Many years ago, at my own high school graduation ceremony, the valedictorian likened our lives to riding a roller coaster ride.
She said that the majority of our lives would speed by on a level track. That was the time when we should gather strength from God and from friends and family around us. It was the time when we should appreciate both the simple and the profound in our lives. It was a time when we should count our blessings.
She reminded us that there would be steep hills to climb in our lives as well. She compared the roller coaster hills to difficult college exams, to first days on the job, and to unraveling relationships in need of nurturing and care. And she reminded us that the strength we'd gathered while on an even keel would help us climb the mountains before us. Once we were high upon those mountains, we would rejoice at our accomplishments and gather strength once more because of our successes and the exuberating feeling we had at achieving them.
She also said that there would be downward slopes in our lives, times of true trials, perhaps depression and fears, or the deaths of those close to us. Having gathered strength on even ground and after having rejoiced after climbing treacherous rocks, the depths of despair and the downwards slopes were handled easier.
"Yes," the speaker said, "life is like a roller coaster ride."
"If you're on the steep hill or the downward slope, don't jump off. Stay on the ride, because most of it will be on level tracks, an easy existence."
Wise words for one so young, weren't they? In essence, she was saying, "And this, too, shall pass." And she was absolutely right. My life has, indeed, been like a roller coaster ride. I expect it will continue being so. Most of the ride has been on level ground, with a few upward climbs and downward slopes thrown in.
"The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or to say a new thing in an old way." Richard Harding Davis
"The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say." Anaise Nin