Tuesday, August 28, 2012

This Too Shall Pass


The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
-Alan Watts

Yesterday, the proverb “this too shall pass” kept playing out over and over again in different scenarios. The fable about a Persian King humbled by a ring with those words inscribed inside speaks to the impermanence of life.  Times are good. The Kingdom is prosperous. The King is saddened by the reminder inside his ring that this abundance won’t last forever. Times are bad. There is war and poverty. The King looks at his ring for hope knowing that this too shall pass


Most obvious was the storm that passed. Isaac turned west, sparing our coast devastation. It passed only after it changed plans for hundreds of thousands of people. Today schools and government buildings are closed. The first day of the Republican National Convention is canceled. What it did not cancel was a small wedding in a Gulfport public park. We were having lunch at a nearby restaurant when we spotted the lady in white hanging on to her roses in 30 mile an hour wind gusts. I was fascinated when the groom stood up from his wheel chair and took her hand under neath a flagpole. I had to congratulate the couple in person. I had to find out what was the urgency to get married on such a dark and blustery Sunday. My daughter and I crashed their wedding. 74-year old Doris told me she robbed the cradle by marrying 72-year old John. They have been together 14 years. He is sick. She needs a certificate to visit him in the hospital. They weren’t willing to let another day pass without being husband and wife.

Later on Sunday, we crashed another party, the host party for the RNC. It was amazing that in less than 24 hours after a major league baseball game, event planners transformed our stadium into a tropical oasis flowing with alcohol, food and entertainment for 20,000 party goers. I was there not for the political party, but rather the party hosted by my hometown. The last minute invitation happened to come on Women’s Equality Day. On August 26, 1920, women were granted the right to vote with the passage of the 19th amendment.  I never knew about the significance of the day before I attended an event earlier this weekend held by the Business and Professional Women Foundation. The group is dedicated to empowering working women, shattering glass ceilings and closing the pay gap . Speakers shared figures on how the majority (51%) of registered voters are now women, but less than 17 percent of the seats in Congress are filled by women. Only six states are governed by women. There is still much work on the agenda. In a way, I crashed the equality party too. The road was already well paved by the time I became old enough to earn a living and to have a voice at the polls. Minorities pass into majorities. Majorities slip into the minority.
I always thought the lesson of the fable of the Persian King was to accept things that are out of your control. Wait for the storm to pass. But John and Doris showed another side to the proverb. Seize the moment, because it won’t last. The modern day suffragists and visiting delegates have another take, affect the moment so it won’t last.

How do you regard impermanence? 

1 comment:

  1. Tracey, As usual, as I read your comments, a song came to mind that sums it all up for me in terms of the way I feel about impermanence. Turn, Turn, Turn, a song by the Byrds, adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes talks about the seasons of our lives:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4
    As I approach my 60th birthday and realize that I am embarking on the final season of my life, the thoughts of impermanence fill my mind. I ask myself if I have had a life that counts? What will people remember about me? What is still left to do before my days on this earth come to an end? What I do know is that at this season of my life my greatest passion is to give back. Specifically, to help other women negotiate the rapids of their lives. I also hope to create beautiful memories for my grandchildren of times spent with Nana. Finally, I want to love with fearless abandon.

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