A traffic jam isn’t forever; uncertainty isn’t forever; even suffering isn’t forever.
Posted in , Mar 29, 2017
We have to do some major rearranging of our apartment this week because of a bug infestation. One of my kids–who is already fragile–was getting pretty distressed about it.
“Yes, it’s wildly inconvenient,” I told her, “And I know you don’t have much emotional margin right now. But it’s a finite problem. It’s annoying, and it will be unpleasant, and, well, we’ll get through it.”
“Yeah, but I bet [my brother] is going to be a jerk all week, too,” the kid replied, sourly. The sibling in question is in tech week for a musical, which will mean he will be tired from late-night rehearsals, too.
I nodded. “That’s possible. And still, it’s just a week. The week will pass, and we know it will be stressful, and we will find ways to cope. We can do that. It’s not forever.”
It’s amazing how many things aren’t forever, though they feel that way at the time. That traffic jam isn’t forever, and not knowing how a situation will turn out isn’t forever, and even suffering isn’t forever. Forever is something else, something bigger than fears and feelings.
I suggested to my child that the how-we-handle-it of stress is worthy of more attention than the stressor itself, since a sinful response can have a far longer-lasting impact than inconvenience, uncertainty or pain. That’s worth thinking about when a problem feels like it’s taking forever.