This Too Shall Pass

“This too shall pass”

Apparently an old Persian proverb, or something similar. There’s a fable attached to it, about a Persian king who owned a ring upon which it was inscribed. A ring “with the power to make a happy man sad, and a sad man happy”.

It means that every material condition, positive or negative, is transitory. Is temporary. Will pass.
I suppose it’s therefore no surprise that it means different things to different people. I’ve seen as it as a kind of mantra for the depressed, for the down and out. “This too shall pass”. This is not the end. Things can get better. A message of hope, a reassurance, a promise.

But also a reminder, a caution, a… threat? You may feel happy now, but, well… “this too shall pass”.

Funnily enough, the phrase is normally used as a reassurance rather than a caution. As a species we’re very fond of platitudes and rather unfond of remembering our mortality – and that’s what it boils down too, eventually. Our mortality. “This too shall pass.”
And yet… transience is what makes things worth being. It’s what gives things worth, in a way. I’ve written before about how fragility makes things beautiful. About how small everything is, how temporary. How valuable that makes almost anything, from the right perspective. I’ve read (and had the privilege to hear) a poem about the moment of an explosion, frozen in time. It’s a poem about sadness, and death, and about joy, and life. It finds the cold beauty in the tragedy. And it does this by identifying the transience of… everything. Of life. Of a single life changing (or life ending) moment.
“This too shall pass”

So maybe it should never be seen as a caution, not as such, but a reminder. Yes, nothing is ever permanent, but that’s what makes it MATTER.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. Not really. There’s something here, and it IS something I should be able to write about, but it isn’t working for me. It’s been far too long. I’m rusty and I’m trying to hard and nothing here is feeling natural any more.
I’ve been thinking about the phrase all day – all weekend, really – and every time it comes to mind it carries something different with it. Because I’ve been using it in my head as a kind of mantra – it’s a damn sight more apt than “I’ve felt worse” which has always been my not-so-reassuring and not always so true attempt to drag myself through bad periods.
But I can’t ignore the fact that it’s also kind of unpleasant. I mean, it’s great to tell someone who is having a bad time that it will pass, but what about people having a good time of their life? It almost sounds like you’re wishing unhappiness upon them. And that sounds wrong to me. There’s an inherent beauty in the words that is trying to speak to me but I just can’t HEAR it properly at the moment.

I’m just convinced that for some reason the phrase should always be a comfort. Not just for the unhappy but for everyone. I don’t know.
The internet reliably informs me that it has been over 2 years since I posted anything, and I know that means it’s been 2 years since I wrote ANYTHING at all that wasn’t coursework. I have no idea if I’m going to publish any of this, or where I’ll stop if I do. Looking back through the things I used to write I don’t know how I ever did it. There’s a thoughtfulness there that I can’t even comprehend any more.
I used to write poetry, and looking back some of them were pretty good – acceptable, if nothing else. Then I couldn’t.
I used to write blog posts, and some of them were pretty good. They were honest, if nothing else. Maybe now I can’t.

“This too shall pass”.
So. What is that? A comfort? My inability to write something I’m happy with will pass?
Or a commiseration? My ability to write things I’m happy with has passed?
Both? Neither?
“This too shall pass”.
And something else will come to replace it. Maybe that’s the message, the reason it’s always comforting. “This too shall pass”. And then the next thing will pass, and the next, and the next, and the next…
There’s always something new. Maybe that’s it. Maybe that will do. Maybe it won’t.

Somewhere I decided I’m going to publish this. All of it. Even the weird ramble-y bits where I get a bit meta. It’s fine, Deadpool came out this year. Meta is cool, right?
Don’t know. Don’t really care.

Hi. It’s been over 2 years. It’s nice to still be here.

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