The Reality Of The Duality
This past weekend was a whirlwind of emotions for me. I had been two months apart from my wife and two young boys as I moved to Florida ahead of them for a new job. During those months, we experienced a multitude of highs and lows as we journeyed through the stress involved in selling our house in New Jersey and buying a new one in Florida. When all of it was finally over and done with, and we joyfully moved into our new house together over the weekend, I recall very few moments when I've been that happy.
I awoke this morning to find a small handful of people I know had died over the weekend, as well; one of whom was my age due to an accident. I currently am holding a number of people in prayer who are struggling with illness - either themselves or with the illness of a loved one. I am aware of some family situations around me that are incredibly painful for everyone involved, and others who received health news over the past few days that will forever change their lives and the lives of their loved ones, as well.
Life, at any moment, can grant us the most joyful and the most painful of moments.
I've had reason to reflect on this reality of late for the reasons I just stated as well as a few others, and as a person of faith I keep coming back to the question of how we deal with the powerful duality that Life presents us with all the time: the pendulum-swing from joy to sorrow. Often the sorrows seem so unfair, so unexpected, so beyond the scope of my ability to understand them. The joys also seem often underserved, unexpected, and sometimes better given to someone else that needs them more than I do; yet I'm always thankful.
Life right now is joyful for me: I have my family together, I love my job, I love my home and the area in which I live. I have both of my parents living, and I have an amazing family and extended family. Life is good.
And yet I am powerfully aware that this can change in an instant.
The older I get, the more I come to the realization that God, while fully present in both moments of joy and sorrow, is not necessarily the direct facilitator of each. That is to say, God isn't "making it happen" to me; whether as reward or as punishment.
Life, as they say, happens.
Or as Jesus wisely said, "God lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong."
And of course Ecclesiastes reminds us so beautifully that for everything involved in the totality of the human experience, there is a season.
For myself, I find that my best response to the joys and sorrows of life are reflected in the quote above: when things are good, relish it and be thankful. When they aren't, find the strength to move through it and beyond it, hopefully learn from it - but don't become a victim to it.
I find God profoundly in both kinds of moments as a presence of strength, inspiration, comfort and grace. If I try and find God as "the cause" of each, I find it radically offends my own sense of faith, my image of God and my interpretation of scripture and the ministry of Jesus.
Where do you find God in the duality of your Life's moments?