fall-leavesI’ve been blessed to have some important “a-ha” moments in my life. Often they open the door to some sort of personal growth that is usually a good thing. But I’ve also had some “a-ha” moments followed by “whammo” moments that have taken my breath away—both literally and figuratively.

Like the night, many years ago, when my mom and I went out for the first time after my dad’s death a couple months prior. We actually had some laughs, and as we were driving home, I realized that he would want us to have fun and that it didn’t diminish his memory. I said to my mom how it felt good to laugh, even though it felt bad to not have Dad there with us. Within minutes of those words coming out of my mouth, our car was broadsided and we went flying through an intersection. I smashed my head into the window, the car had extensive damage, and my mom realized that my dad had changed the insurance to collision only. It was a costly night in more ways than one. A-ha…whammo.

A sort of personal mantra that often plays in my head like a looping tape during life’s rough seasons is “this too shall pass.” Because it does. We got past the concussion and car repairs from that night. And though I didn’t know it at the time, it was helping to prepare me for more rough seasons to come.

This year has been yet another one of those rough seasons. Included within is another classic a-ha/whammo. While dealing with some rough logistical and emotional challenges in helping to take care of my mother through a major health crisis, it dawned on me that I needed to strive to find joy within the challenges…not wait to get through them. Joy in the moment—not once the obstacle has been overcome. A-ha. The following morning I said aloud to my husband Mike that I felt we were so blessed for him to have his job. And then the next day his boss called him into his office and he was let go. We were completely blindsided. Whammo. The timing would have been laughable if it wasn’t so painful.

We are still in the process of figuring out what God has in store for us next, as Mike is still unemployed, but I do know that this too shall pass. I believe it because I’ve been there before. And while the process may totally suck, I know God is there to take care of the sparrows…and us, too.

But it’s not only the tough stuff that passes. As we all know, the good stuff is temporary, too. It’s all part of the crazy life cycle that keeps us on our toes. Just grab a photo album of days before digital and see if the time flying doesn’t make your head spin—and all the wonderful moments that seemed so big then are now so small—contained in a 3×5 photo and a little piece of your heart.

And that is why remembering “this too shall pass” is so important. Not only does it help me get through life’s blindsidings and heartache, but it reminds me to pull myself out just for a moment and take note that I may not have forever to appreciate my kid’s singing in the shower or the beautiful fall colors or the laughter of a night with friends. It encourages me to savor those moments because I am so very well aware that they do not last.

It helps me remember the fleeting nature of life’s struggles and joys…How the joy fills us and sustains us while the trials make us stronger and wiser (and hopefully more compassionate and understanding). All of it makes us who we are.

So…wherever you may be in life…whatever challenges you may be facing or loving memories you may be making—take heart, take note—this too shall pass.

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