Have you ever had one of those moments when you received a sign? You know, one of those times when it seemed like the stars aligned to send you a message in a surreal way? I had one of those experiences while listening to an acoustic version of U2’s “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.”
I’ve been a diehard U2 fan for a long time. My dad would play one of the band’s CDs in the car every morning on the way to drop my brothers and I off at school. As hard as I tried to not like “dad music,” I was hopelessly captivated.
Fast forward to junior year of college, and I find myself in a rut. I have projects on top of projects, tests, homework and other obligations with no end in sight. Sleep didn’t seem like a luxury I could afford.
When I did found the time to sleep, however, anxiety kept me up. During one sleepless night at 4 a.m., I grabbed my laptop and resorted to YouTube as a means of therapy. I searched “live U2 performances” because that’s the closest I thought I’d ever get to a U2 concert.
The song was very simple and pretty, but with a slight difference from the original: instead of ending the song with the usual “this time will pass,” Bono sang, “this too shall pass.” The two phrases basically mean the same thing, but the latter hit me like a freight train. At that moment, I thought it was the most beautiful string of words I had ever heard.
Since then, “this too shall pass” has become an incredibly important lesson for me. I even wrote it in marker on my bedroom mirror as a constant reminder that as tough as life can sometimes be, I will make it through.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to keep your head up. Everyone runs into a bump in the road now and then, and it’s so easy to turn that little bump into a roadblock. The longer you dwell on the bad, the more negative your outlook becomes. This is where that beautiful four-word phrase comes into play: this too shall pass. That bump in the road is not the end of the world, and before you know it, you’re over it. How quickly, though, depends on how badly you want to put it behind you.
Sometimes, we run into bigger obstacles. It’s not so easy to tell yourself that this too shall pass in some situations. There are times when you feel so defeated that you ask yourself, how can things possibly get worse? Huge mistake.
Any human being who has ever watched a melodramatic TV show knows what happens after that question is asked – the character gets struck by lightning or splashed by a car driving through a massive rain puddle. Indeed, things can absolutely get worse. And sometimes, it just sucks. I’ve been there before, and I know I’ll be there again.
It’s that place where you don’t want advice and you don’t want to be comforted. You just want someone to listen, understand and say “wow, that really sucks.” As hard as it may be to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I promise it’s there if you’re willing to look for it.
This may seem bittersweet, but it’s a reminder to cherish the good times while they last. It’s comforting when things go wrong, humbling when things go right and a reality check all packaged into one clean phrase.
Having recently graduated from college, I can tell you that time really does fly when you’re having fun. I have never experienced a quicker four years in my entire life. I would try not to think about graduation because it meant the end of an incredible era, but then I would see the faint “this too shall pass” at the top of my mirror.
While it may not have been the happiest of reminders, it made me remember how lucky I was to have something that would make me feel so sad in its absence. Knowing that these good times would come to an end made me appreciate them so much more. Bittersweet, right?
I’ll leave you with this: no matter how terrible the cards are that life deals you, you’ll find a way to win. You’ll win even sooner if you ditch the negative outlook on your future. Keep your head up and move forward, because this too shall pass.