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The Quote That Helps Me on the Bad (and Good) Days of Lupus

Early one February morning, my 12-year-old daughter and I sat in an orthopedic surgeon’s office, waiting to hear the report on an exam of her injured knee. The news wasn’t good.

“It’s an ACL tear,” the surgeon said. “It will require surgery and a six month recovery before she can play soccer again. There will be lots of physical therapy and work ahead of her, but she will recover with time and effort.”

Needless to say, this was not the news we were hoping for. I thought we would go into the doctor’s office and hear she needed a few weeks rest and would be as good as new. But life is like that, isn’t it? Sometimes you sit in a doctor’s office and your whole world shifts with one spoken sentence.

My daughter is an avid soccer player, and to hear the news that she was going to be out for an entire season and undergo a pretty major surgery with a long recovery was terrible. We both cried at the struggle she would have to face. As I wrapped my arms around her in the office, I wracked my brain, trying to come up with something that would help her focus on the challenge at hand. Something that would motivate her and let her know she could do this.

“Matching bracelets!” I said.

“What?” She said, pulling back from me.

“Matching bracelets! I know where we can get bracelets with quotes on them. You can pick a bracelet out with the quote you want, and I’ll get the same one. We’ll wear them during your recovery, and you’ll know that we are right there with you the whole time, and that you can do this. You can look at the bracelet, and it will give you a physical reminder when you need it.”

And, I thought to myself, jewelry is always nice.

A short time later, we found ourselves standing in front of a large display of quote bracelets at a local store. My daughter leaned on her crutches and looked at all of the choices.

“This one,” she said, after 30 seconds spent looking at the bracelets.

“This too shall pass,” I read.

“That one?” I said. “Are you sure?”

This too shall pass was… nice, I supposed. But I’m a Marine Corps brat, and I was thinking more along the lines of something more motivating like, “Never give up.” This too shall pass seemed more passive. Like we were waiting for something to pass, rather than being active in making it pass. I’m all about being active.

I’m big on control. Is that obvious?

“That’s the one,” she said. “When I get sad, it will remind me that the hard part will end. It will remind me that this is not permanent. That things will change. I just have to give it time.”

OK then. That was the one. I picked up two bracelets in silver and took them to the front to pay for them.

daughter and mom wearing bracelets

As the weeks went by, I wore that bracelet every day as a reminder and show of support for my daughter. But, as I caught myself looking at the writing on it, I thought about the statement it made more and more. The meaning behind it began to dawn on me.

A few weeks after my daughter’s surgery, I had a particularly bad couple of weeks. There were doctor’s visits, new meds and new issues to deal with and manage. Making plans for anything during that time was challenging, and I got frustrated one night.

“What if it’s always like this? How will I ever manage to make plans for anything? How can I be reliable if I can’t make plans and keep them?” I asked my husband one night.

“It’s not going to always be like this,” my husband said. “Slow down and hold on. It takes time to figure it out, but we will.”

And, with a little more time, we did. This too shall pass.

this too shall pass bracelets

As I waited for another doctor’s referral, researching and wondering about new treatment options, I could feel myself getting antsy and trying to anticipate the outcome ahead of time.

Stop, I thought. This too shall pass. I’ll have answers soon enough and will deal with each situation as it comes. Wait for the right time.

The statement held true on my good days too. Even when everything was clicking along, I felt on top of my game and the whole world was beautiful and right… I still remembered, this too shall pass. Appreciate the good days. Rejoice in the joy that they bring. Revel in it and soak it up for those days that aren’t so good. I rely on the promise of that returning joy. It helps me when I’m struggling with the mental or physical aspects of lupus. This too shall pass.

That’s just how life goes. We endure and work through the difficult days, hour by hour, task by task, treatment by treatment. We simply can’t make it go by any faster. Endure. But then, when it gets better, we are able to eagerly greet those days that we don’t have to work quite so hard.  Those days are beautiful.

“This too shall pass” isn’t a passive statement, like I thought. It’s a reminder to hold on, endure and wait on the promise of joy. Hold on, endure and wait are all actions on our part, and sometimes I need the reminder to take that action. I’m so thankful my daughter, in her 12-year-old wisdom, picked out that bracelet. It was a life lesson I needed to be equipped with to live life with lupus.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a scene or line from a movie that’s stuck with you through your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.