He asked what was up, and instead of saving my tears for Mom, I poured them out on my dad. It seemed like the whole world was ending, and he could probably hear it in my voice that I was a little too caught up in the details of this particular situation to see the big picture of life.
I remember that he did his best to comfort me in his own way, including pulling out time-tested, if cliché, idioms that he hoped would comfort me, such as: “In every life, a little rain must fall,” and "No one promised you a bed of roses," and other platitudes. I kind of groaned inwardly, hoping he would finish up and hand the phone off to Mom. But before he handed the phone over, he gave me one last thing to remember.
"I love you, honey, and remember, ‘This, too, shall pass.’”
To be honest, I don’t remember anything else about that phone call. I only remembered those four words.
My parents hadn’t always had it easy. There were plenty of tough times. Yet, when I thought about it, somehow my parents always weathered the storm and ended up better than before. Dad wasn't just saying those words because he wanted to make me feel better now, but because it was exactly this kind of attitude--hope--which would lead to a better and brighter future.
When I sat in class for the rest of that semester, I wrote them on top of my notebooks, and decorated them with vines and flowers over and over. “This, too, shall pass…” And Dad was right, it did.
Over the years, this hope for joy and a future full of hope has never left me. Whenever I get mired down in the troubles of the world, I remember my dad’s promise that this is all temporary. Sometimes, when I see my children laughing and singing, or when I sit with my husband on the couch and listen to him talk excitedly about some big project, or when I know that the time is coming to say goodbye to people I love, I think of the other side of that little saying. “This, too, shall pass.” Yet even grief is a passing thing.
Now that Dad has a cell phone, I don’t “accidentally” receive his wisdom when I am calling my mom. She’s a fabulous font of wisdom, too, but as a man who has borne his share of suffering and struggle, he is a bulwark in my life. He is a man who can steadfastly look with hope to the future. When I really need it most, he sustains my courage by his own example and deceptively simple words that go right to the heart of my life.