This is a phrase that I've been saying in my head for a long time and only today did I realize that I've probably never said it out loud. Of course it's a play on the similar saying, regarding fire, but I think it's more true than that. Fire is one type of context change. However, it's possible to build something in the fire that can't withstand the ice.
This is why, I think, people tend to find silver linings in tragedies. We each have a basket of eggs. We take those eggs with us wherever we go but we don't know which are the best eggs and which are the bad eggs. Sometimes you get to know someone who you really like, but somehow in the back of your mind you know that they'd never be able to break you out of a Turkish prison. Or an American prison, even worse. Who are the people that can go to church, and go to the clubs, and go to the mountains, and go to corporate America, and talk on the phone for hours, and punch you in the gut, all in 24 hours? These are the people that survive trial by context-changing.
It's not only people that go through these trials... I think goals, interests, problems, concerns, worries, visions, dreams, philosophies, theories, t-shirts, pants, memories, and tastes also go through these trials. The ones that survive are the strongest, the best... the ones with some sense of being universal, or permanent, or real.
When context changes and something disappears, you wonder, did it ever even exist? Of course, this accounts for 99.9% of the things we occupy ourselves with on a day-to-day basis. If someone gave you a plate full of pig intestines, would you be able to eat it? How about a heroin needle? How about an SUV, 2 kids, and a dog named Spike. Could you take it all of these things without puking, without becoming indignant and stomping off? I guess a better question is, could I?
Maybe I'm talking about different things here. If you have a person who has been to the highest highs and the lowest lows with you, they have survived one form of trial by context-changing, and you will most likely value them all the more. If you have a personal ambition that you can remain focused on even when that friend dies and you lose your job and you get a case of the scabbies, then you will most likely come to value that ambition as somehow stronger, better, different, maybe even yellower than the rest.
A problem occurs if you haven't changed context in a while. We end up with things that we value but that which probably wouldn't stick around if it really came down to it. But why must we try to only keep things that stick around when things really come down to it, I hear myself asking. Well, eventually, my guess is, things will come down to it. And I'll realize that most things in this life don't matter when those things have come down, to that. "That" is beginning to scare me. Anyway, if your bed is going to get messy again the next night, why make it this morning? There's a whole other aesthetic in temporary things that I'm not addressing. Let's address it. There is something beautiful about realizing that something only works within a certain context and that that thing is still valuable. Like RSS. Like a little ceramic cow. Like my shiny brown pants. Like, dare I admit it, the Mariners and all sports. Like Harry Potter. Like Joe Stupidhead.
So what am I saying? Trial by context-changing or nothing is new under the sun? I guess I'm saying, one or the other.