How many times have you heard this recently? Me too. A LOT. Like, a whole lot. This isn’t one of my dad or Gram’s favorite old sayings, but my mother-in-law loved to impart this one in any difficult time. So we’ve heard this one in all manner of crazy circumstances that have tried us over the years. In fact, at some point, she found this saying at a craft fair booth, framed for display – so it would be right there reminding my husband at a moment’s notice to press on, in case she couldn’t be there to say it herself. She bought it to sit on his desk at work, and it moved with him to many desks and offices over the years. Sometimes he hasn’t seen it right away, but I think the reminder has been a welcome one in a ton of stressful moments.
It makes total sense that this saying has come up often over the last couple of months of pandemic-inspired upheaval. In fact, I saw a meme with a funny twist on this old saying. “This too shall pass – it might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.”
I giggled in spite of myself when I read this. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not at all making light of the pain that comes with a kidney stone. Though I haven’t experienced it personally (knocking on wood!), I’ve seen it up close and personal when Jimmy has suffered through some biggies. I don’t wish that pain on anyone. The point is that we can’t count on tough circumstances going away quietly – sometimes, the ride on the struggle bus is bone-jarring in its bumpiness, hanging on a dirt road along the side of a steep mountain. The storms, which may or may not be of our own making, sometimes don’t just rumble like thunder in the distance – they might just blow your shutters off the hinges, scattering debris all over the metaphorical lawn.
Most of the off-shoots of the “This too shall pass” are digestive in nature – I’ll let your mind wander there for a minute because some of them are thoroughly amusing. For us, we’ve had a couple of memorable passes over the years, including the time our first Lab puppy KT celebrated her 2nd birthday by jumping on the counter and “finding” my engagement ring. For anyone who says Labradors settle down by their second birthday – do NOT believe the lies! It’s AT LEAST 2-1/2 years before they transform, almost before your eyes, from chewing demon machines to the faithful companions that reel you into the madness in pictures. At any rate, I don’t have to tell you how excruciating the wait for that — ahem — passing was, especially for Jimmy, who took a BIG ONE for the team on “doodie duty.” It seemed like that particular storm took FOREVER to pass – and it was even longer before he could laugh about it. For weeks, every time I would mention it, he would give me the “still too soon” look, and I had to change the subject. Because, after all, he did a lot of scooping and sifting for that particular pirate’s treasure.
Back to today. Beyond the unexpected toilet paper challenges of the last several weeks (Seriously? I still am scratching my head on that – did NOT see that one coming), there are many people we know who are really taking it on the chin recently. And it runs the gamut. We feel for friends and family who are working long hours in essential positions, putting themselves out there every day to take care of the rest of us – possibly finding themselves in a position to end up sick, stressed or worse. We can’t wait for supplies, work loads and routines to return to normal. And then there those who have been laid off or had their work schedules cut, forcing the opposite adjustments to their family lives — financially, emotionally and more. Their battles are at opposite ends of the “trials” spectrum. But they’re every bit as important and real, especially to those in the storms.
I’ve seen many local businesses offering meals, coffee, discounts and special shopping hours to those who are essential and on the front lines out there – which I think is so admirable and thoughtful, recognizing the challenges they’re facing with their families. And then I saw a social media post from a friend in the healthcare field, expressing gratitude for the thoughtfulness, but saying she is thankful to be working and would like to find a way to pass these specials meant for her on to someone else who might be struggling due to unemployment. Her post made me stop the thumb-scrolling for a moment and think – and I was warmed by her consideration of others who might be facing completely different tough times than she is.
I guess that’s the bit for me here. The ruckus is very real, and it can feel stifling in the thick of it, even swallowing us for moments. I don’t want to forget that, because not recognizing others’ struggles likely means I’m caught up in my own worries and woes – which usually are pretty tame in comparison and not at all worth a pity party. I hope, instead, I remember to extend a little grace to someone where he or she needs it, considering what they might be passing themselves.