(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 580)
Pron = STOOL-toom est tih-MAY-reh kwohd wee-TAH-ray nohn POH-tehs.
It is foolish to fear what you cannot avoid.
Comment: Oh, if it were only so easy to reason away emotions! I think this is a perennial mistake. Emotions are like water (an ancient correspondence, by the way). They can overwhelm us. They can terrify us. They can make us crazy. They can leave us confused. Have you ever tried to reason with a wave in the ocean? Reasoning with emotions is just as effective. They come rolling in, anyway.
Publilius Syrus does, though, capture a truth. What we are not able to avoid (like the wave) is coming. We must find some way to deal with it. When I stand on the shore, wading into the ocean, and see the wave coming, I usually turn my back to it, and I back into it.
That's to protect my face, and because I have a little more stability backing into them. But, the wave will hit me, and I will get drenched. And then it passes, and I get deeper into the ocean where I can float and enjoy the support of ocean water.
And so it is with emotion, and with the events in our lives that we cannot avoid They are coming, and we will get drenched with them.
They may frighten us, or sadden us, or anger us, or depress us, or astound us, or wow us. We'll get through, just like taking the next breath. We will get through, unless we go under the water, and refuse to come up for air. So it is with emotion. We can choose to stay buried beneath it, and refuse to breathe, and it could overcome us for good.
That's where the fear has to be something we make a choice about.
When the unavoidable is coming, and it terrifies us, we may go under for a minute. We must remember to come up for air. And breathe. And this wave will pass. The sun will shine again. The moon will rise again. And we will have found a little more strength, a little more wisdom, for living. We can float for a while, in the great ocean of our lives.
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive