Saturday, April 16, 2011

This too shall pass

A few weeks ago, one of my professors told me a story and I've been thinking about it ever since. He said there was an old fable in which a man was sentenced to die. The king set the condemned man what seemed to be an impossible task; the king said that if the condemned man could give him something that would make him happy when he was sad, and sad when he was happy, then he could go free. The man gave the king a ring engraved with the words "this too shall pass." The king realized that the man had met his challenge and set him free.

This too shall pass. Those words suddenly seem to be a full, meaningful description of the way things are, rather than something I tell myself to feel better when things are rough. It does make me happy and sad, sometimes at the same time.

Tonight was a lovely, shining moment that made me so happy and melancholy at the same time, only because I knew that nothing else would ever be quite like it. Those lovely, shining moments are rare, especially when most weeks feel like a long, emotional slog. Such has been my time with the student newspaper: long hours, blood, sweat and tears, mixed so much joy, and passion, and fulfillment. Tonight I had a chance to sit and reflect with my fellow graduating editors (along with our beloved advisor, of course) and it was priceless. We shared memories and the strengths we recognized in each other after so much time working together. One editor remarked that he had moments of panic when he thought that perhaps working The Guilfordian was as good as things are going to get, because how could we ever find another group of such talented, passionate and hardworking individuals? When would we ever find another group of people willing to sacrifice so much for no pay and little formal recognition?

I don't know the answer to that, but we did share a sense of excitement and faith for the future of the student newspaper in the hands of its new editors. And after leaving, I can't help but feel and sense of faith and excitement for myself and all my fellow editors who are graduating along with me. I have no doubt that the strength and passion we've brought to this newspaper will carry us forward to wonderful things, even if it's not what we imagine now. Looking back on it, my work for The Guilfordian (and by extension, my work at college) and the relationships I've built have been genuinely transformational and I am grateful. I am grateful to have known these people, grateful that I will go on knowing them. I am grateful for everything they have taught me, and everything we have shared.

It's appropriate that the same professor who told me that story is also the advisor for the newspaper.

This too shall pass. But something will always be waiting ahead as well.