It didn’t matter who said them: my mom, who I figured was lying; my friends, who I knew were being nice; or my therapist, who I suspected wanted to get paid. When my doctor explained that, even if I could never find the right medication combination or mixture of cognitive behavioral therapy and other techniques to abate the depression, that my symptoms would STILL not say forever, I breathed the only sigh of relief I had since the first panic attack sent me into a tailspin.
Actor, screenwriter, and author Evan Handler crafted a beautiful memoir on that theme … the passing of all things, good and bad … called “It’s Only Temporary.” His chapters provide a good reminder to live according to the four sacred words. He writes:
Bereft. That word could pretty much serve as the caption for any snapshot taken of me in my thirties. A decade entered as a traumatized refugee, who’d already experienced old age and dying, though somehow managed to escape death itself. I lived like a man on the run, and in nearly every respect – romantically, financially, psychically – I exited the decade on a lower plane than that on which I’d entered. But as the alcoholic in recovery will tell you, the bottom is the blessing. Because the only place to go from there is up….
I have learned that whatever threats might still be lurking are only landmarks on trails to be traveled until a new path appears. There is no arrival point. Only a journey, then a passage from which no one’s ever sent back reports. My philosophy these days is summed up best by what my friend Jackie once told me. She was trying to ease my pain over one of my many overblown heartbreaks.
“It’s only temporary, Ev,” Jackie said.
“Yeah, so is everything,” I responded.
“Well, that’s the good news and the bad news, then, isn’t it?”
And so it is.