Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This 'Too Shall Pass

Many think this saying is a biblical proverb. But it isn't found in the Bible.

"This too shall pass" (Persian: این نیز بگذرد, Arabic: كله ماشي‎, Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎, Turkish: Bu da geçer) is a proverb indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. Some versions of the fable, beginning with that of Attar of Nishapur, add the detail that the phrase is inscribed on a ring, which therefore has the ability to make the happy man sad and the sad man happy. Jewish folklore often describes Solomon as giving or receiving the phrase. The proverb and associated fable were popular in the first half of the 19th century, appearing in a collection of tales by the English poet Edward Fitzgerald and being employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became president.

This weekend I was prompted to ponder the meaning of this proverb as I took a few days off work to spend time with the Chicago branch of JB's family to celebrate the wedding of one of his nieces. I was a bit apprehensive, as my past experience with these folks has been mixed.

It helped to remind myself that we'll only be there for a few days and I resolved to make the best of the situation. While there were a few tedious moments where my separation from Jerry Springer shrank to an uncomfortable 1º, overall I had a nice time and I'm glad I went. And true enough, the long weekend is now just a memory.  Fortunately I took lots of pictures...

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