Living in Paradox


Another goodbye. How appropriate. Who knew, after writing my last blog, that I would have yet one more goodbye to say? And a biggie, at that . . .

This time, to my son and precious new daughter-in-law who left for Idaho a couple of weeks ago after a job transfer. After only a two and a half weeks’ notice. After buckets of tears from yours truly.

They will no longer be able to pop over anytime for dinner, jacuzzi, and Amaretto Cherry Cordial ice cream nights. They will not be here for most birthdays, holidays, and nothing-going-on-days. They won’t be coming over to watch the house when we go on vacation and make sure Bella doesn’t pee in dad’s office.

But they are flying – completely out on their own with no parent-strings attached. They are taking chances, risking a ton, and experiencing life to the max. They are excited, happy and optimistic.    truck

Yes. My heart is on the floor. Beyond sad and grieving.

And yet, my heart is so proud. Thankful and happy!

A little schizophrenic, huh? A good friend recently asked me how I was doing with all of this. I was almost embarrassed to answer because, well, I’m all over the place – feeling feelings that shouldn’t coexist . . .

As if because I’m sad, I can’t also be happy . . .as if to be in mourning means I can’t be thankful . . .as if to feel discouraged means I’ve lost all hope . . .

I’m pretty sure that’s a form of legalism.

We buy into the lie that we’re not really being honest with ourselves if we have feelings and thoughts that are polar opposites of each other. (Either that or we think we’ve finally gone nuts.)

We believe stuff like:

If we’re angry, then we’re not really operating out of love or trusting God.
If we’re sad, that means we don’t see a bright side.
If we’re discouraged, then we’re not really thankful.
If we want something, then we aren’t truly content with what we have.

Sometimes those things are true. But who says we can’t also live with diametrically opposed feelings?

Somehow we’ve bought into the idea that two conflicting experiences cannot cohabitate.

My all-too-often disarrayed soul begs to differ. I call it living in paradox.

Paradox: a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true. (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

Yup. I think we live in dichotomous, parallel truths more often than we realize. For instance:

  • I am thankful to be in school. I cannot WAIT for it to be over with.
  • I am beyond angry, sick, and frustrated at an injustice my girlfriend has been going through the last two years. I also trust God to work it all for good and am happy for all He has given her.
  • I am disgusted with our political environment and am even more sickened with how some of us “Christ-followers” are behaving in the midst of it. At the same time, I am so grateful to live in this still-super-awesome country and I still believe in the church.

I wonder what living in paradox might mean for you right now . . .

I know someone who had to give a much-loved foster child back to a mom who’s really trying to get her life back together. And someone else who felt relief that their loved one wasn’t suffering anymore but also experienced incredible distress at the loss. Talk about conflicting feelings.

The problem isn’t living in paradox; it’s not acknowledging its existence.

When we engage in “black or white” or “either/or” thinking we discount feelings. We minimize. We dismiss. Or think we’re crazy.

But embracing that there are two opposite sides to the same coin is very freeing.

Because then we accept. Open up. Relax.

If you’re all over the place too, you’re in good company. Maybe realizing it and giving ourselves a break is the sanest, most productive thing we can do.

Personally, I’m into sanity. See you in paradox.


22 thoughts on “Living in Paradox

  1. Cathy West

    Well. I think this might be your best blog yet.
    Such awesome thoughts. And so true. And I so get it. I remember how elated I felt when our daughter first called to say she’d met this guy, and thought he might be ‘the one’. But she lived in another country, and we had to wait for the next visit to meet him. We couldn’t say, oh cool, invite him over for dinner . . . every step of that relationship we lived through mostly from a distance. Now they’re married and here, living a few feet away from us . . . :) So you never know. Now it’s our son who is living life out on his own, in another country, but this is how it is. Thank God for skype and frequent flyer miles. :) It’s hard to let them go, but good, and even better to acknowledge the pain it it.

    1. sherribennettblog

      Ahhhh…thanks, my friend! :) Like water to my almost-dried-out writers soul. And I appreciate the encouraging story about your daughter. I think I’ve finally landed in a good place – plus we get to visit them in a few weeks! Yay!

  2. Debra Hall

    hi… I am blessed to know you! :) You lay ‘it’ all out there … all of it! You bring us back to God’s word and His perspective on life.  My heart says be happy and thankful you raised your son well to ‘do life’ and make these big, grown up decisions on his own and that he was smart in allowing God to choose a bright girl as his Bride :)  but I can also imagine how much your heart is hurting to not have them close… this gives you another place to visit though and a good reason to get out of town. Bill and I could look in on your house when you travel and if you were comfortable boarding Bella, Wags & Wiggles in Tustin is pretty close to you, just mention our name if you go there and we’ll get a small credit :) Blessings, Debra :)

  3. sherribennettblog

    Thank you, beautiful friend! Always love seeing you’re name pop up on my blog. And thanks for the offer – I may take you up on that someday. :) Hope you and Bill are having an amazing summer!

  4. Bart Broadnax

    I’m glad I took the initiative to “like” your page (as if I wouldn’t…). I absolutely love your insight and perspective on God, life, and love. It causes me to think and to feel from viewpoints I wouldn’t have entertained otherwise. Thank you for that, and thank God for you, my friend!

  5. Linda Finkenbinder

    Hi Cosi,

    I read every word you send but my 94 year old mind has forgotten something. What is the first good-bye before Michael and Taylor’s? I can imagine their good-bye has really changed your life. The details are all jumbled in your mind and since you can’t express them I can’t feel them as you do but I am praying for you. I say this because you mention two goodbye’s but only talk about one of them and my memory has left me wondering. I am vaguely remembering your friend moving. Thank you God.

    I love you so much.


  6. Teri Zelina

    My awesome friend! Just recently, I considered leaving The crossing. Too much to share here but, thankfully, my son Steven Cass in Pamana, put it all in perspective. When we live life, thinking about God and not man or me, it becomes so clear. Trust that your son is in God’s hands, that your life is in his hands and just relax. I learned a hard lesson but when I embrace God instead of me, the sun shines again.,

  7. Jill

    Wow Sherri. This one really hit the nail on the head. Sometimes I do feel like I am being contradictory, if I am having those paradoxical feelings. It then feels like I am being ungrateful for the great things in my life just because I am feeling sad or angry. But uou are right. we can feel sad, angry or disgusted and STILL be happy and grateful for our blessings. I loved this blog!

  8. susie s

    It’s a fine line sometimes but oh so true! Thankful that we can feel these feelings too. Whew! Love you.

  9. Lori

    I love your blog… You are so honest and open with your feelings and thoughts… I love your heart and how much you love Jesus… You always point us back there… Thank you for sharing… Sometimes I have thought I must be crazy for feeling opposite feelings.. So glad to know others do too… You are such a blessing… ❤️✝👑😍❌⭕️❤️

  10. Bertha Paquette

    Miss Sherry! It’s in your blood!!
    Great blog! I’m so technologically handicap! It’s wonder I found this! Lol I’m gonna look for this gold nuggets ❤️❤️❤️Blessing to you!! 😘


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