Temporary Permanent

Dianne St. Jean

Temporary Permanent

When I was very young my mother would put my hair in curlers in preparation for special events like family weddings.

The curlers she used in those days had prickly ends protruding from them, meant to keep the hair from slipping off. But were they ever a source of discomfort!

Normally the curlers would be set in the evening and I would go to bed and sleep with them in my hair overnight. 

It felt so good the next morning when those sources of irritation were removed from my hair, and oh – was it ever worth it! My normally straight hair bounced in curls for at least a couple of days.

Then came permanents, more commonly known as perms. Apart from enduring the stinky chemical smell while it set, at least you knew the curls would last a long, long time, which could be good – or bad.

There’s nothing so frustrating as a bad perm, because you have to let it grow out.

Thank goodness, then, that even perms are temporary.

You can’t help but see an analogy with life in this hair story.

At some point, most of us want to have some form of stability or permanence in our life.

That could mean a solid career path or long-term job, finding that right home or piece of land to settle on, or a life-long commitment to another person.

But what we intend or purpose to be long term or even permanent is sometimes unexpectedly interrupted – a really tempting job offer comes up that seems to answer all your needs, but it’s located in another place; having to move because what used to work around you is suddenly working against you; a failing relationship…

That’s when we have to see the permanent as temporary. 

Nothing in this life lasts forever; even solid relationships are eventually torn apart by death.

Seeing what we consider to be ‘permanent’ things in our life as actually temporary helps us to cope when those unexpected or even unwanted changes and challenges arise, just in the same way one takes comfort knowing that the bad perm will one day grow out.

And, consider the fact that even those changes will one day themselves also come to an end, even if in the beginning they appear to be forever.

Life moves forward – people don’t stay in a job forever, even if retirement is the thing that takes them out; the position of elected officials is temporary, unless of course you’re a dictator – but then again – where’s Saddam Hussein today?

So you take that job offer, maybe only for one year or ten. Who’s to say you can’t rent out that home or piece of land that you want to keep in the family and return to it later? Who says that you’ll never find another person to share your life with? You might even find someone better!

Instead of panicking when we see what we perceive to be some aspect of our life falling apart or forcing an unexpected or unwanted change – remember this – thank goodness that even the permanent is temporary.