a personal collission of coffee, christ, and culture

None Shall Pass

I read this really intriguing article on one of my favorite sites just moments ago, entitled “This Too Shall Pass” (http://artofmanliness.com/2011/10/09/this-too-shall-pass/) Obviously I couldn’t just rip them off for my title, so instead I ripped off Monty Python and the Holy Grail (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXY9TuuwyL8)

That article caught me because of its depth of simplicity. “This too shall pass.” After a really trying experience, how often do we tell ourselves this? Do we ever believe that things will pass? I, for one seem, to not think this as much.

In the above article a thought experiment is given involving the death of an eldest child. I think its pretty interesting in where it goes from there. The idea is put out there that most people, when given the possibility of losing something dear to them (in this case an eldest child), are very narrow in their conception of how they might respond to it. If you were to lose something dear, and then visualize how you might feel 2 years down the line, chances are you might not be able to envision 2 years of having new experiences but only 2 years of not having whatever it was you lost. We tend to not look months or years down the line and think, “You know, I might have lost this, but over the next 2 years, I will be traveling and sharing new experiences with friends and developing myself in my career. I will be jogging or riding my bike frequently and I will be reading new books and I will be going to a state fair.”

The article makes the point that when tragedy strikes, we think of our lives only in the context of not having whatever it was we lost in that tragedy. Visualizing 2 years and only thinking about being unfulfilled during those 2 years seems to be where utter loss places us.

This is too bad. Perhaps we should be borrowing a page from the Art of Manliness and remind ourselves that “this too shall pass.”

Those words really caught me by their simplicity. Its just a small, easy phrase to tell yourself, but the truth that it holds and the encouragement that it gives are, well, they’re kind of nice. Its a thing that I do not do often. As much as I would hate to declare such things, I think I may have some “worrier” in me. I process and think and really try to make good, informed choices and when tragedy strikes it seems as if all that time and effort I put into attaining whatever it was I was after starts to turn back in on itself.

That’s an interesting choice of words… “turn back in on itself.” Its like I can experience the joy of planning and preparation and feeling prepared but then when things don’t work out I can just as easily experience the pain of working my way back to the beginning, unraveling all my planning and preparation and seeing how maybe my choice or experience through that time was ill-informed.

Um, I am sure you don’t have to hear this, but that sucks. I am robbing myself of learning and growing from loss. I am robbing myself of experiencing where I am now. I am robbing myself of the opportunity to help and serve others during that time.

I stop placing one foot in front of the other and instead of knowing that I have a slew of new experiences ahead I just keep thinking things are going to be one big cycle of loss.

I think that so many people, too many people, are susceptible to this very thing. We go through a big loss and instead of progressing forward we freeze. There is so much more that will occur than just “open space without what we lost.”  I want to encourage you in this. Maybe things are peachy for you at the moment and if that’s the case, keep doing what your doing. But if you have gone through loss, of anything, regardless of the “value” (isn’t something only as valuable as what you think its worth anyway?) just gently remind yourself that “this too shall pass.”

Things move on always, but its not just into this massive void of unfulfillment, its a void that has not been filled yet. There are new experiences out there. There are movies to watch, sports to play, and festivals to go to. There are bikes to ride, friends to entertain, and food to eat. There is coffee to drink, paths to hike, and trips to take. All of these experiences serve us well in turning our future from an empty void to fullness.

Hope that serves you well, wherever you happen to be right now.

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