March 18, 2004

This too shall pass...

Gam zeh ya'avor (Hebrew) "This Too Shall Pass"

Welcome! According to Google Analytics, this is by far the most visited post that I have ever written.  If someone comes here from a search engine, most of the time they are looking for "this too shall pass quote" or simply "this too shall pass" on Google or one of the other search engines.

I am sure that most of the time visitors are looking for the originations of this quote, but I have to wonder, why is this quote on people's minds? Why are they pondering the passing of events? 

Here is my thought: It is probably because most of us have realized that the adult life is much harder than we ever imagined it to be. There is more pain and more sorrow than we had ever imagined as children, but we have learned that time keeps ticking. And as time continues to flow things pass.

In fact, even the really big things and the really hard things will still pass.

If you are here because you are thinking to yourself, "this too shall pass" then you are right. We know that things pass, but I think that the too in the phrase is important for us. The too reminds us that no matter what it is, it will pass. We are told by Paul, in I Corinthians that this world and the things of this world, are passing away. Notice that they have not passed yet, but we are also not waiting for them to start passing, they are currently passing.

Please consider writing to me to tell me why you were pondering this quote. I would love to hear your story, and maybe even compile a list of stories. If you tell me your story, I will make sure that I respond with mine, and tell you the real reason why this phrase was significant to me when I wrote this.

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Update #1: One possible source of this quote is the poet Lanta Wilson Smith. To read her poem click here.

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Update #2: Another possible source is this poem by Helen Steiner Rice click here.

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Update #3: Check out my "This too shall pass" store.

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Though times have changed for me, the original post with this title can be found here.

53 comments :

  1. Without a doubt, this is my most popular page.

    I have been wondering why so many people have come to this page, and I think that it is because of the title. There are alot of people out there going through several different trials, and they are hoping along with everyone else that "this too shall pass."

    If you have been by this page, drop a comment and let me know what brought you here.

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  2. I think it came from King Solomon.
    ---
    I am here because my father passed away, and I was looking for a quote to give to my sister.

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  3. For the past 12 months, I have suffered a sequence of such horrible events, there's no way I could list them all here. For starters, my 7 son's health was poor, and now MY health is suffering, one mis-diagnosis after another, my ex-husband was stealing my health insurance to get narcotics, my best friend passed at 30 from a heart attack...my list of troubles goes on endlessly. I can say with certainty, however, why/how I got to your page. Earlier this evening, I was sobbing and feeling sorry for myself (which I surprisingly rarely do) over hitting yet another bottom, yet another low.

    I would never even consider harming myself, but I asked God both "How much more can I take?" and "How much longer can I go on like this?"

    I got my answer when these words popped immediately into my head. What's odd is that I thought this traditionally jewish (and most arguably accurate) version of the quote from the bible. I had always thought the quote was slightly different.

    Anyway, I'll take any and all prayers that my health improves...and that "This too shall pass" passes quickly for me.

    Sabrina
    ashlyn.brendan@yahoo.com

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  4. I was looking for a qoute that will sum it all up for me. So this one popped in my head. right now im going through so much stuff, financially, relationship wise,personally. and i just needed something that will let me know that it wont be like this forever.

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  5. This quote popped in my head as I was thinking of a quote to put on my headline in how I am feeling. I would say my reason for feeling this way is my relationship. Another heartache, another lesson learned. I think it's a great quote to stay optimistic in life.

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  6. I had a wonderful relationship with a great man for 6 years. He bought me a ring and soon after as I was planning my life with who I thought was my bestfriend, I found out he was cheating on me with "a village bicycle"(all his friends have slept with her). I broke up with him and found out that soon after he moved in with her. My life was turned upside down, I had to adjust myself to this horrid reality and come to terms with the idea that I was going to loose most of my friends since I befriended his friends when I moved to this city to be with him. Although I know I am better off without him,it still pains me to know that one can drop something that they have worked on for 6 years and easily let it go for a stranger.

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  7. Nothing in my life is going the way it's supposed to. I'm not headed on the right future path. Everything seemed so simple when it was planned out in my head. Now, I just seem to make things messier and messier as I go along. The reason that this particular though jumped into my mind though is probably cause I'm stuck in a forkroad, not sure which direction to head it.
    But my troubles seem so petty as compared to everyone else's here. I feel selfish, and I feel that I am not privileged enough to be given rights to the quote. My prayers are with all of you, that you may have the strength to wait for happier times, as this all will pass.

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  8. Thank you all so much for your comments.

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  9. Hello!
    I was just looking for something to expres my actual mood...
    I'm going through very bad times, and can't see the end of it.
    That quote is perfect!
    I'll get it tattooed.

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  10. That's awesome! I have seriously thought about doing that myself!

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  11. My Bible study group wondered about this phrase. I think it really comes from Jesus' words. He said, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

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  12. I came to your page because I am considering getting a tattoo to mark a really difficult time in my life, remind myself that nothing is permanent - good or bad. Everything is totally out of my control and I'm struggling to keep my sanity in check. I am not a tattoo person, but somehow this phrase is all I need.

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  13. a model had it tattooed on her arm,
    i liked it and was wondering about its origin

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  14. Does that symbol in the top right corner mean "this too shall pass" i really need to know

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  15. Yes it does. Check out the Wikipedia page. I think that is where I got the picture from.

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  16. I am considering getting a tattoo during this difficult time that struck me out of the blue,something that I though had been put behind me,but has reoccurred. I felt that my life had been coming together after a life time of bad decisions. I felt that this saying would be a good way to remind me and somehow in a weird way give me the strenght im needing at this moment and throughout my life.

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  17. I'm hear because a friend asked a question about where the quote came from. no more, no less.

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  18. I was wondering where this quote originated from because I was/am considering getting it as a tattoo. It's a nice way of saying "Life goes on." despite what we endure.

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  19. This qoute is perfect.. I was looking for a phrase to get tattood on me, and this totally sums it up!
    I was forced to move across the country with my family when i was 16, and two months later, they excommunicated me, leaving me on my own. I am now 18 and havent talked or seen any of my family since :( I went through so much, and I never had anyone to really help me through it.. honestly I don't know how I did, but this qoute is perfect.. I was looking for a phrase to get tattood on me, and this totally sums it up!

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  20. I have used this quote so many times; during heartbreaking times to less "important" times - inconveniences really, walking in the outback hot, tired and thirsty (not in any danger, just hot tired and thirsty. At work when stressful situations arise and I don't know how to handle it, a quick prayer and a "this too shall pass" brings amazing results. And on the long flights between Australia and Britain the quote is always silently spoken!
    I always thought it biblical in origin, now we know, and I can't think of anything nicer to have as a tattoo - if you really must have one, just be careful where you put it.
    Regards, RTS

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  21. The reason this quote is so powerful to me is because it goes beyond the temporary hardships of any one individual. In many ways, this is what impermanence is meant by in Buddhism. That all states of mind and being are relative, and only comparable to other arbitrary states of mind, none of them being quite the uktimate filter through which to view reality.

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  22. I stumbled upon this page while trying to find the origin of the quote "this too shall pass". My grandfather, who has endured more in one lifetime than any person should without reaching sainthood, is famous for this saying. I think of him and the quote during rough times in life.

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  23. I heard of it for the first time in the book "A new Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. Please do read it if you are ready to 'end the suffering' as Buddha did.

    This phrase points to the meaning of life and its truth. A seeker of spiritual truths shall find deep peace in the phrase.

    Love & Peace

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  24. My grandfather is dying from cancer. I don't have any tatoos but will be having this tattoo done in rememberance of this awful time.

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  25. I am 18 years old and just graduated high school, i was the valedictorian, the funny girl, and mostly known as the party girl. But during this summer i lost myself into what i thought was a "normal" rutine of drinking almost every night. I got dumped for being a "alcohalic", kicked out by my parents, and was taken advantage of many times. I got this tattooed on my rib cage to remind myself that today could be the most horrable day of my life but the next day might be the best, all i have to do is wake up and see.

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  26. I came to this site because today I was thinking about my past and some things I've gone through recently. As I was pondering, this quote came to mind and I think it's just the perfect saying. It's simple in that most anyone can understand and can relate to it but it's full of wisdom. Looking back on how hopeless I felt in the past almost makes me chuckle looking at myself now. No situation is permanent, life goes on.

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  27. For the past 6 years I've found myself saying this qoute quietly to myself. It was whispered in my ear as a form of comfort at a funeral by a woman who had lost her brother in Iraq a few months earlier. I wish I had heard it earlier. When I was 6 I lost one of my best friends to Luekemia. When I was 11,I began a lifetime battle with an eating disorder. At 16, I too moved across the country with my family. At 21, right before Christmas, I lost my best friend and fiancé in Iraq. We had grown up together - He was my rock. Since then I have been with men that were not so nice and who did not treat me so well. I have endured things I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I woke up everyday wondering when it will all end. Through it all I have managed to graduate college and graduate school - and probably drive a few therapists nuts. However, I too am at a crossroads in my life and I'm not sure which path to choose. Where I am now is not what I had pictured for myself. Last month on a plane returning from visiting my old friends in California, I decided that I am going to tattoo this quote on my rib cage. I'm just not sure if I want the symbol or the actual words. However, no matter what I choose, I know when I look at myself in the mirror every morning I will be able to remind myself that no matter how hard it is right now, tomorrow may be better.Life goes on. I am still breathing. It took me a long time to realize that no matter how much pain we are dealing with, we are not alone; and someone, somewhere is going through worse. This too shall pass.

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  28. ...And so it passed, just like they said it would, just like i knew it would, change precedes fruition, which in turn precedes change. Such is life.

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  29. Wikipedia says that it came from the tale of King Solomon and the magic ring.The ring that would make the sad man happy and happy man cry. King Solomon didn't believe that the ring existed. Until he saw a ring with "this too shall pass" engraved upon.
    It's cool that you have shirts with the Hebrew.
    I'm going to link it to my post for Friday.
    http://ageless-northshore.com/

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  30. I am going through a very rough time in my life was fired from my job of 5 years without any warning and a friend of mine said these words to me. I think it was the best thing i could have heard in this difficult time of my life.

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  31. I have suffered from lyme disease for almost five years now and I was looking for tatoo ideas. I want something to signify that no matter what hardships are thrown my way, they will pass. Hence, the reason I came upon this on google; glad I did though. I love this symbol, I'm highly considering this or "even the best fall down sometimes." Thanks for the idea :)

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  32. I dont know who or when this phrase was told to me but I vaguely remember the story - some man of high power spoke to the wisest of his people and asked them to come up with a phrase that would carry him through life. A phrase that would help him to continue in the bad times and to also remember to appreciate the good times. They came back to him with 'This too will pass'. How true this story is I don't know but I love to use this phrase when going through a good time. It reminds me to not take anything for granted and to appreciate the good things in my life because just like the bad times, they too will pass.

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  33. Like many people who have posted, I'm going through some difficult times and find comfort in "this too shall pass" quote. It'll be okay in the end, there's hope. But sometimes, I feel like I will pass out before this too shall pass.

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  34. IVe bEEN throUgh a loT IN LIfe & im young, but i knoW THeres muCH morE TO come. && EVeryTIme SOMETHIng bad COMES UP I thiNK...It CAN get Worse oR It CAN get BETTER.buT THeres ALways something WE doNT Like ABOut R LivES.troUBLES & happiNESS are a conSTant THIng OF life.buT thiS too SHALL Pass rEMInDS Me TO cheriSH whAT I have WHILE I STILL have IT.I Just GOT iT tattoOEd.& I WILL Never REGRET iT.p.s. THis IS thE ONLY Place ivE EVER Been so opEN aboUT THIS.moST Of THe FRIENdS My AGe DOnt GET iT at ALL!

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  35. It's comforting seeing all of you being so open with the hardships in your life, and the support it brings others to share what you are going through. No matter your spiritual beliefs, we are not alone. I too found myself on this site while looking for solace for a friend. My immediate broken heart and unbeliveable prospect of a pending divorce, was put into perspective after discovering my friend had been hiding an affair she discovered her husband started while she was pregnant and continues until now. She is a great person. She and her daughter deserves better than to be replaced with someone 10 years younger. She is in pain. I think it is only natural to grasp at anything that will ease the pain and the realities life sometime presents to us. Many of these things are destructive or hurtful to ourselves and others. Remembering "this too shall pass" can help us through those tough days.

    I have felt this pain of a loss before. It does pass. Sorrow does subside. Love comes again… and goes again. Sadness will come again, and go again.

    As someone else had written… it is almost more important to remind yourself in good times too. All things are in a constant state of change… all things are impermant… all things are temporary… Happiness will come. Sorrow will come. I try, but the pain is always more than you possibly prepare yourself for.

    This phrase does brings me comfort. I know it is true. I hope this phrase brings my friend comfort too, particularly after reading all these heartfelt comments.

    “This Too Shall Pass.”

    PS… the coolness of your tatoo of ANY phrase may pass too. Choose the location carefully if you think seeing it every day will hold the same power as it does today in your current state of mind. ; -)

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  36. Remember that this phrase applies to all of life, the good as well as the difficult. The recognition of this is where peace can be found.

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  37. Mom B says... This too shall pass... are phrases that people use to help them navigate difficult moments, situations, and times of life. The third time in the morning a pregnant woman feels the ultimate effect of nausea... she says "This too shall pass." The fifth time the boss yells at you and you think your job may be toast if you don't finish this assignment... "this too shall pass" When your heart is broken as your child (the young adult now) makes a bad decision and has to work through the mess they created alone you tell them to remember, "This too shall pass."

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  38. i'm gonna have these words tattooed too! i've been through a very difficult breakup last year, now im finally moving on... it just really takes time... but as we all would say "this too shall pass...".

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  39. i broke my foot and have to wear an ugly big air cast for 2 weeks.

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  40. That is the best comment yet!

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  41. crazy, I stumbled onto this site looking for the origin of the phrase. a scientist used it to describe the ultimate and inevitable death of the universe on the Discovery show The Universe, Cosmic Apocalypse? He describes the second law of Thermodynamics which says that everything in the Universe must tend toward entropy. Thus, truly "everything" must pass. It appears to be the only absolute certainty in this Universe. I was also thinking of a tattoo cause I'm going through a hard time with a lot of stuff. Perhaps I'll put that on one side and something related to the Phoenix rising from the ashes in the other. off to research a new phrase. May the days of joy find you long and often....

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  42. well i am still quite young but i have been through so many ups ands downs and so has everyone else my mom has been on drugs since i was 13 and she has overdosed around 4 times we have never had the best relationship but i still care for her and love her if it wasnt 4 her i would not be here i worry about her constantly and sadly to say she has made my life a living hell at times i have the quote "this too shall pass" tattooed across my back to me it represents the struggles i have overcome and the other ones i still have to conquer

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  43. Matt, I clicked over from FB and read a post about a Piper book....then I saw the title of this post on your sidebar. I clicked on it because it was a something my mother always said. I have repeated it to myself and my children during those hard times that seem long and unrelenting. It is soothing and a reminder that all of life is fleeting ...we console our selves with it during the bad times but we should also let it flow from our lips in the good for it all passes away. The phrases describes "time" better than any other definition. Our eternal souls need to be reminded that time is not all there is.

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  44. I am pondering this quote because of food poisoning. "this too, shall pass", makes me feel like I can look at the situation with a lighter heart because of the way it can be taken literally.

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  45. As I stumble on this quote from a friend's Tattoo. I google the story and was amazed. I can't sleep and now it is after 1am, my mind keep thinking about it. "This too shall pass." In other words, "Nothing last forever." It leave me speachless, what can I say? It sad to think about it. Happiness doesn't last long, so is age, love, and everything. To see the better said of this is, hard times and pain will not last either. In the end, everything will turn to dust.

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  46. I stumbled upon this page while looking for the orginin of the term...as I also was considering having it tattooed somewhere on me.

    A friend once told me in regards to tattoos, to make sure it's something you won't regret, and that's always going to be relevant. For me, this simple 4 word quote sums up how I feel right now, and will be relevant in any bad times, as the feeling will always pass.

    I would have liked to know more about the origin of this quote before getting it tattooed on me but right now I don't really care. I like the quote as it is, and maybe it's best I don't look into it too much? It's what it means to me that's important.

    I think I'm gonna do it.

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  47. My mother was just diagnosed with very serious breast cancer. I was looking for quotes similar to "this too shall pass" to bring hope and encouragement to myself, my mother, and my family.

    Her name is Kris. If anyone feels compelled to pray for her, please do, it would mean a lot to us.

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  48. I would be happy to pray for her. I am the Pastor at a small church in Illinois. If you want to contact me, to let me know more specifically how to pray, I would love to hear from you.

    matt[at]harmlessonline.net

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  49. I've been through a hard time. I couldn't even leave the house because I was scared, I'm only 21 so imagining spending my life like this made me suicidal, I have an amazing support net around me and things are starting to get better so I'm getting this tattooed on me because I feel it somes up my life. It'll be a constant reminder of my struggle!

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  50. I brought my parents into my home for their final years, and it a heavy load. We are dealing with hospital stays and conflicts of opinions. I'm exhausted and frustrated.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear about those challenges.

      In difficult times it can be good to remember Rom. 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

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  51. Hello Matt -

    I came to this page because my mother is very old (97 1/2 years) and very frail. Its been a phrase she's used often and lived the phrase in her quiet acceptance of sorrow and joy in her life. She is so quiet and steady, it seems to me that the saying has been like a motto for her. I wondered if it was from the Bible, but it seems to be part of mythology. Lynne C.

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