First let me begin with the definition of the word paradox.
1. A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true: the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking.
I began thinking about this more clearly, and then with more confusion just this morning. Therefore I created my own paradox.
The calendar marks a date and tells us it is SPRING. Spring to me means warmth, flowers, and even bugs. Yet it seems all I have felt is rain, cold, and I can still wait a long time for those bugs!
I had heard that today was supposed to be warm. Indeed it is warm but for me it is a paradox that it is also a dreary day.
As my thoughts began to wander this morning they came to rest gently while I thought of a patient whom I had come to know fairly well over his admissions. His life had been one of extremes. He had experienced horrible things in his life; so much so that many of us could not even imagine. In his later adult life, he had transformed those experiences to a career. He was working to expose facts so others would not suffer the same but now modern atrocities. The paradox for me was that now meeting him as he was in treatment for cancer, he had such a cheerful spirit. There was no bitterness, no anger etc., and no fear. “I have a tenacious disease” he said. This is a man who made peace with paradox in his life. He chose to embrace living even in suffering, and find peace while he lay ill. Indeed, a paradox from my perspective. How could he have endured suffering like his and now at the other end of his life, be so peaceful?
My understanding from him [note he was a Buddhist] is that it is his beliefs that carry him. Faith and what we believe can at times seem like a paradox.
- I/We pray yet it can often feel like a one way conversation.
- I/We suffer and try to find a spiritual understanding, yet that seems a paradox as well.
What I am attempting to say is that life, like Spring, can be a paradox. Think of the athlete who has cancer vs. a person who didn’t care for their health living to 100. I think we as people attempt to make sense, to make clear what doesn’t rather than stepping back to view a paradox.
In a life that reminds us that not much is for sure, and that the next paradox is right around the corner, life also gives us an opportunity to be more peaceful in the uncertainty.
My question to you is, what grounds you during uncertain times? On the cusp of Christian holidays of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, and the Jewish holiday of Passover is it your faith is you belong to one of those traditions? Is your paradox of suffering hope?
Next week I will write about a very personal story. I have been given specific permission to use the story in its entirety. It is about youth, true love, unimaginable deaths and well.. I hope you read next week.