This Too Shall Pass

30 Aug 2017 - by: Tristen

This too shall pass.

I hated it when she first told me that. Rhetorical bullshit. Tell that to someone with gall stones, right? Knowledge of your inevitable relief is a small comfort when faced with the immediate and deadly reality of the present pain.

This too shall pass just as painfully as every time since, and every time to come.

My retort was met with only a smile and a shrug. Clearly she knew something I did not. She was my friend, Danielle, and she was like a second mother to me. Life had been much more cruel to her than it has ever been to me, and yet her advice on the matter of coping with it somehow persisted in being annoyingly positive. She’s not with us anymore, but her words are still with me, despite my conflict with them.

This too shall pass.

After she too passed along, I felt obliged to dig deeper into the four words that she drilled into my brain whenever I was depressed. It was all I had left of her, and she conveniently bit the dust before the dramatic revelation where she was supposed to tell me how the hell she actually held herself together.

Strong seas do not a good sailor make.

You have to read that one like Yoda. It was another one of her tid-bits, and a critical window into the mind of the strongest woman I’ve ever met. It took a long time, and a lot of despair and struggle, before I think I began to understand. I wouldn’t have liked it if she had just told me straight.

You know someone is smart when they know you won’t learn a lesson by being told, so they lead you on a path that’ll help you learn the lesson yourself. To learn her lesson, I had to learn the context I needed to understand it, and in the learning I forged the tools that were the point of the lesson all along. Decrypted and revealed now for you, her lesson:

Appreciate the experience for what it makes of you.

Of course, now I’ve told you. How cruel I am to rob you of your own revelation; and how annoyed you must be with me for essentially tell you to change your attitude. But no, I’m not cruel, I’m just not a cryptic genius, and I don’t expect you to change your attitude. You can’t just change your mind like a switch, I know that. Just hear me out. One more short paragraph.

Life sucks a lot of the time. It’s not fair. It’s seldom just. What tears into your mind and heart may be natural phenomena, or it may be the cruelty of human beings, or the unlucky tragedy of mental health, but regardless of its appearance, its nature is a storm. When that storm comes, try to see it for what it is. It’s a goddamn wave, and you may have limited control of your ship, but you are Captain Fucking You, and surviving this shit is gonna make you stronger. When you decide to turn into those waves head on, screaming in fury, the darkness surrounding you, the freezing water crashing around you, and you survive, triumphant! You might start to realize, and appreciate that:

This too shall pass.

Just as painfully as every time since, and every time to come. Each time forging your destiny.

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Tristen Unrau

Tristen is a Front-End Web Developer by day. They write fiction, make video games, review chocolate milk, and sing silly songs by night.

"Be the genderqueer space wizard that you wish to see in the world."