Snow Endures but for a Season

Marcus Aurelius, the philosophizing Emperor of Rome almost 2 centuries ago, had some insightful things to say about life. They apply to our pursuit of happiness today as much as when he wrote them then.

“Snow endures but for a season, and joy comes with the morning.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

An ancient rendition of, “This too shall pass.” Trials endure for a time, then end and slowly fade into the fog of memory. The snow of winter, of cold, of disappointment and pain lasts only for a season.

It lasts longer only when it’s kept alive by keeping it front and center in our thoughts and conversations and complaints.

Still, there is a normal process of healing, a series of stages we go through as we grieve a loss. Allowing ourselves to go through each stage allows the healing process to run its proper course.

And yet, not all go through the stages in the same order or for the same length of time. Some, however, get stuck at a stage in the grieving process indefinitely and continue to grieve unnecessarily.

But there will be an end, if you allow it. Part of you knows this. But it can be so terribly difficult to feel there’s light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel of bleakness, loneliness and misery.

But seasons do change. The sun rises. Ice thaws. Snow melts. Spring arrives. Flowers bloom.

And so will you!

Hang on to that thought as you walk the tunnel in all its sullen darkness. If you can’t see the light yet, then imagine it’s there. Pretend it. And exercise the faith or the hope needed to believe that if you keep on walking, however lonely and difficult now, a corner will be turned and a light will flicker dimly in the distance.

Keep in mind that eventually the dimly flickering light will grow bigger as you keep moving toward it. It will grow bigger and then bigger and then bigger still until it eventually fills your heart and soul with its warmth … eventually.

Constant pain does fade to bouts of daily pain, which fades to frequent pain, and then to pain during certain times if the year, like birthdays and holidays. It may never fully disappear. Maybe it’s not supposed to in this life.  But happiness will return. It will once again become the normal state of affairs, punctuated with moments of memory that weighs the heart down.  But they do become periodic punctuations, in time.

And perhaps, just perhaps, the happy moments will be more intensely happy precisely because of the memory of a pain that was itself excruciatingly intense.

Have you endured a period of pain and sorrow? How did you endure it? Is it better than it was? Please comment.

And return tomorrow for the second essential principle of happiness from the pen of the philosopher-king.