The first thing I do when I get my O Magazine is turn to the last page to read Oprah’s letter. This month she talked about how repeating the mantra this too shall pass helped her get through the recent scandal at her school in South Africa. Those four words have brought solace to many people over the years, myself included. I put the quote on a couple of T-shirts and it was written on the blackboard in my kitchen for many months. I wasn’t familiar with it until I got very sick one night last year. I had a nasty reaction to a new medication that not only made me physically ill, but at one point made me feel like I was losing my mind. Not a good feeling. So I was curled up on the couch (after getting home from the doctor who said I would just have to wait until the drug got out of my system), feeling like I was about to become unstrung as they say, when suddenly I got those four words: this too shall pass.
The strange thing was, they weren’t part of the confused illness spawned soup that was swirling around in my head. They were written on four sheets of pure white paper that floated up and out of the craziness that was engulfing me. I almost felt like I could reach out and pick them up. Which was weird enough in itself, but the really cool thing was that I immediately felt such a sense of peace wash over me that I was able to relax enough to go to bed where I slept off the remainder of the medication side effect. The next day I googled the quote to try and find it’s source. It seems its origin is up for some debate. It’s often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, poet Lanta Wilson Smith, and to a proverb about King Solomon. In the end I decided it didn’t really matter where it came from, it helped save me from what could have been a long, frightening night of illness. I still slip on those T-shirts now and then when I need to remember those four simple words. Gam zeh ya’avor…this too shall pass.