One day a wise and respected king decided to humble his son, whom he saw as arrogant and unfit to take over the thrown.
The king said to his son the prince, “My son, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for my birthday, which gives you six months to find it.” “If it exists anywhere on earth, father, I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?” asked the prince. “It has magic powers,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.” The king knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his son a little taste of humility.
Spring passed and then summer, and still the prince had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before his father’s birthday, the prince decided to take a walk in one of he poorest quarters of the kingdom. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked the prince. The prince watched the old man take a plain gold ring from his sack and engrave something on it. When the prince read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.
That night the entire kingdom celebrated the king’s birthday with great festivity. “Well, my son,” said the king, “Have you found what I sent you after? Have you found a ring that will make a sad person happy, and a happy person sad?” the king inquired with confidence. All the ministers laughed and the king smiled. But, to everyone’s surprise, the prince held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, father!” As soon as the king read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written four words on the gold band: “This too shall pass.” At that moment, the king realized that all his fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust. And that perhaps his son, the prince had the wisdom to rule the kingdom.
The lesson in this story is that everything changes. Change is not only a fact of life; change is life. It isn’t exactly pleasant to point it out, but your body is changing even as you’re sitting there reading this sentence. Your skin is shedding dead cells and growing new ones. Your breath, in and out, changes the amount of oxygen in your cells. Blood cells are growing and cells are dying. The organs are processing nutrition, creating energy, and filtering wastes. Your hair, fingernails and toenails have grown imperceptibly since you sat down a half an hour ago. And the room around you is changing. Dust that was in the air has now settled onto to the chairs and the floor. The electric lights have grown a few minutes nearer to burning out. The hands on the clock have moved.
Though you may have been partnered with the same man or woman for fifty years, your relationship has changed. And with any change, comes a loss for how things used to be. And you may begin to fear of what may occur as a consequence of that change. Your attempts to return bits of the world to their former state, like washing a shirts, doesn’t recreate it to what is once was. That shirt you loved in the store, changes after its worn and washed a few times.
Perhaps, you should be constantly mourning what you have lost. Grieving, even if your relationship is thriving, because you have lost the original relationship you had with that person. To say nothing of friends who have died, but even if your friends are still alive, you’ve lost the friends they were at the time you met. You love your adult children, but they are not the infant they once were. The child they used to be is gone. Whatever happiness you have now, will be lost forever and become the happiness you used to have.
Yet, I think people are actually much better than they realize at coping with change. Every day new experiences and stories are added to the relationship that effect the bonds positively and your not even aware of it. I think it is important to have gratitude for what you have and give yourself credit for how well you do deal with change. You are not a victim of change. You are an active participant in it.
* the author is unknown and the story is considered public domain
Arrows image available from Shutterstock.