Tag Archives: paradox

Living in Paradox

fireworks

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 opposing 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 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. I am so grateful to live in this still-super-awesome country and 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.
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