Tuesday, January 11, 2004
There is an ancient folklore surrounding King Solomon and a lesson to be shared with all...
One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, "Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot which gives you six months to find it."
"If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty," replied Benaiah, "I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?"
"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." Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.
Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of he poorest quarters of Jerusalem. 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 Benaiah.
He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.
That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. "Well, my friend," said Solomon, "have you found what I sent you after?" All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled.
To everyone's surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, "Here it is, your majesty!" As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: "gimel, zayin, yud", which began the words "Gam zeh ya'avor" -- "This too shall pass."
At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.
And This Too Shall Pass.
What a glorious reminder. All of our aches and pains, our sorrows, our anguish, our wealth, our success - and ourselves - most assuredly shall pass. Regardless of one's religious beliefs or faith orientation, it is very clear for any intelligent walking life form to know this one thing: anything of this life is temporary. All the bad AND all the good (on its own) is temporary - it will eventually pass away...
But it is my belief that only that that is physical and that which we horde will eventually pass. That which we graciously share will remain. Nature, in all of its mystery, demonstrates this very fact. From the sharing of one's seeds and nectar so as pollinate across large land masses to the falling of autumn leaves so as to become next spring's nourishment for new life - that which we share, remains. Gentle waves across a lake to evaporation to cloud mass to rain to gentle waves across the lake - the form of Life itself changes, but it remains Life all the same.
Think for a moment of your greatest accomplishment: career? discovery? marriage? children?
And this too shall pass.
But what you share of yourself with these entities will be passed on and remain...
Now think for a moment of your greatest fauble or mistake.
And this too shall pass.
But what you have learned from that mistake and shared as insight for others' journey, it will be passed on and remain...
paradox, my friend, is this: That which we grasp so tightly to and keep
to ourselves will eventually perish. That which we openly share with and
for others, will not be futile or finite.
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