Growing up there were a lot of sayings in my family.
This too shall pass.
Life’s not fair.
Patience is a virtue.
I cannot help but wonder how far back these sayings go. I know that my grandparents used to say them, but did their grandparents say them too? What about their grandparents?
I also wonder what hardships these sayings originated from, because clearly these are the words of people that have known hardship.
As I go about my day, I often hear these words of supposed wisdom in my head. And, while I recognize their truths, I recently began to simultaneously question their faults.
This too shall pass screams to me a certain resignation in the present, an omission of the power of action in creating happiness.
Life’s not fair has a similar ring. Why can’t it be? Why don’t we rise up and make it fair? (At least as much as anything is in our control…).
And, finally, patience is a virtue makes me think that maybe patience is overrated. Patience can be the kind of thing that numbs you into submission as you wait for things to improve.
I definitely see a pattern in my new-found interpretation of these truths. A certain laissez faire attitude about life that is not in my nature. I guess that is probably why I had to hear these sayings so many times as a child. I was frequently displeased with the present, enraged by injustice, and impatient. But, who is to say that those things are so bad if they make you take action toward something better?
Even so, I doubt that these sayings will disappear with me. As much as they irk me, they’re also part of me. I have already found myself saying them to my students and, I’m sure, I’ll also say them to my own children. They’re easy fixes to complaints, even if they leave the recipient a little unsatisfied.
So, as I feel impatient and frustrated about some of the circumstances in my life, I guess that I should remind myself that patience is a virtue and that this too shall pass. I just wish that I could find a way to not want it to pass.
Maybe I need some new sayings.