“This, too, shall pass…”

My sister, Mom, and me.

Today is Mothers’ Day here in the States, and I find myself thinking about the lessons I’ve learned from my own mom. Unfortunately, she’s too far away to properly celebrate the day with her, as she’s currently living in Beijing.

However, the fact that she’s currently living in Beijing is, in itself, one of the valuable examples she’s given to me. I think it’s safe to say that throughout the years, my mom has taught me a number of lessons. She’s also provided countless ways to lead a successful life and is my prototype for being a strong woman.

When she was in her mid-thirties, after her three kids started attending school full time, she went back to college and earned her bachelor’s degree. Then, she started a whole new career as a teacher, which has enabled her to travel the world. Even at that point, she continued her education, and earned her master’s degree when she was in her fifties. She has shown that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams, and that learning is a lifelong venture that never has to end.

My mom finds joy in the little things. This appreciation and recognition of the world around her enables her to be happy day-to-day. Her humor may not be the most cutting, witty or sarcastic in the world, but she carries an inner glow that causes people around her to light up and be happier.

I also learned compassion and empathy from her. She has one of the kindest hearts that I know, and her ability to forgive, to pick up, and keep going is one of the things I admire most.

One of the mottos that she’s often fond of saying is, “This, too, shall pass…” In my teenaged years, full of sturm und drang, I found comfort in the saying. Through the bullying, the awkwardness, and the shyness it was a litany to keep me sane and remember the bigger picture. It has enabled me to keep my head up and to keep working through the trials of growing up, even as I’m in my thirties.

It is also an appropriate reminder during the good times. “This, too, shall pass…” It has caused me to stop on more than one occasion and appreciate life’s perfect moments. To try and fully immerse myself in the experience and recognize it for what it is. It prompts me to soak up all the little details so that they can be pulled from memory’s pocket and light the way during dimmer times.

The only thing constant in life is change. In the end, most of us just hope that the actions we take change the world around us positively and we’ve somehow managed to make a difference in life. I feel it’s safe to say my mom has done that, and I’m forever thankful for her guidance and inspiration.

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