I love the contradictions found in Scripture. Once they frustrated me, but now I find them fascinating; freeing.
The virgin birth. A King born in a trough. Die so you might live. Light in darkness. Jesus as fully God and fully man. Freedom with restraint. Re-birth. The Holy One suffers a criminal’s death. Love your enemy. Give to receive. First is last. Last is first. Empty yourself to be filled. Alpha and Omega.
One such paradoxical passage is found in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” Matthew 5:4.
“Blessed” in this verse can also be translated from the Hebrew word, “esher,” to mean “happy.” Hmmm…so when I’m at my lowest point, my most vulnerable state of despair, that’s when I’m truly happy? Seems cruel. Maybe it’s the contrast that creates the fulfillment of these emotions. Maybe I cannot fully experience happiness or blessing until I have tasted sorrow. Maybe my smile is brighter because I’ve mourned. Perhaps the one emotion heightens the other.
My parents bought me a cooking class at Central Market (gotta love Texas grocery stores-shout out to H.E.B.!) for my birthday several years ago. Joey and I chose a spot in the back of the classroom. We were the youngest students by about twenty years. We tasted some yummy dishes that day–seared scallops, gazpacho, tuna steak and escarole, lemon soup–but the culinary tip I remember most was that the best recipes have a beautiful balance of acidity and brine. Lemon and salt.They need each other. The one ingredient accentuates the other–they play off each other to create harmony in a dish.
I need happiness to appropriately mourn, and I need sadness to fully rejoice. I think mourning matures our faith; it tempers the levity in our lives. Like capers and orange zest. Parmesan and lemon.
Though exhausting, unnerving, and oftentimes crippling, the sorrow I’ve experienced in the past two years has created in me a deeper, more authentic sense of blessing, happiness and gratitude.
Finn is my best teacher. He sure knows how to be happy. Hope this short video of his laughter brings you joy.