Monday, February 17, 2014

An Alternative to "This Too Shall pass"

   There was a point in my life where I'd have not given much thought to the phrase "This Too Shall Pass" but over the past several years, it has left a sting each time I hear it. I know how it generally is used and quite possibly have said it at some point in my life. We use it when someone talks about a child who won't sleep through the night or we don't think will every be toilet trained. We use it when someone has a hard class to get through. We use it when we are dreading going to get a cavity filled or even worse a root canal. Those are all things that do pass, but even still knowing the difficulty will come to an end doesn't always ease the discomfort or pain of the present.
    Then there are those things that don't pass. The grief of losing a child doesn't pass. Chronic illness doesn't pass. Infertility and the pain that comes with it doesn't pass. This too shall pass cannot always be applied to this lifetime. I am sure that I personally take it a bit too sensitively when I hear it spoken and often it is said in a flippant, just pull-up-your-bootstraps tone and believe me I am normally one of the most unsympathetic person around for normal things...just ask my kids. However, it is hard not to think of those things that shall not pass when I do hear it. My own voice echoes in my head, "No, it is never going to pass. Thanks for reminding me that my difficulties are not in the passing category." Then I chastise myself for a pity party.
    The reality is that there are things that will pass, but it often doesn't make it easier to go through. I remember having 4 small children and the many nights that all 4 would make a nightly appearance waking us from sleep. Knowing it was going to pass was some solace, but it sure didn't make us any less tired or help us to function from day to day or add any joy to our days. Then there is the reality of those things, some of which I mentioned before, that will never pass in this lifetime. "This too shall pass" seems like a taunting jeer, a bad joke oft repeated.
    What if instead of saying "This too shall pass" or wishing we could say it, we said, "You are not alone. You have the Everlasting Father, the Comforter, the Man of Sorrows, the Bright and Morning Star, the I Am, the Redeemer, the Prince of Peace and He will never leave you or forsake you. He is in the midst of this and you, you are in the palm of His hand. Look to Him; He is faithful."