This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I came across this quote not long after my marriage ended. Around that time, Oprah Magazine occasionally featured a tear-out page of quotations, which was perforated so that each quotation was on its own little card. Being the quote-obsessed person that I was, I always saved them and tucked certain favorites here and there in my office or bedroom. The rest ended up in a box or a drawer.
When I re-discovered the quote, I was rattling around in my empty-ish house, trying to get my bearings, trying to stop crying, trying to see to the other side of the pain. I stuck the card into the frame of the mirror in the downstairs half bath, and there it stayed until I sold the house and moved away from the town where I had become a married, then an unmarried, person. When I got to the house that I was to rent for a year in my new hometown, the quote again went up on the bathroom mirror. Three and a half years after moving into my current home, it is still tucked into the top edge of my bathroom mirror.
The card is a bit worse for wear now, dog-eared and a little tired-looking. It’s rare that I actually look at it or read it anymore. I’ve long since memorized the words, and the important thing is that it’s there. It’s become, over the years, a talisman. It’s a reminder of that difficult period, but—more significantly—it also reminds me that eventually I did figure out “what to do with” that time and managed somehow to make it a “very good one.”
Even now, when I’m facing challenges and in danger of losing my perspective or feeling hopeless, this worn little card with its quotation by a 19th-century American philosopher whispers in my ear, “Remember…this time is very good, too.” And so it is.