Paradox

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.

IMG_1183

We were just babies.

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. IMG_1189We 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.IMG_1195They 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.

Finn in Swing from Joey Armstrong on Vimeo.

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4 thoughts on “Paradox

  1. Love his belly laugh. Life is good when Dad is being silly and you laugh over and over again. God is good to Finn.

  2. I totally agree with you Ashley. We don’t fully understand joy until we’ve tasted sorrow. This was the perfect blog for me to read tonight as my sweet mama is closer to raising her white flag. Her cancer battle will soon be won by Jesus.

    • Thanks for your insights Ashley. I’ve been thinking and praying about mourning and grief alot lately and struggle with why questions. I like to think no matter what obstacles we go through in life, God is there with us every step to help us through. Maybe more than just getting through it but learning to find the good in every situation, how it can bring us closer to Him. He is in control, He knows every hair on my head, and He wants abundant life for me. Thank you Lord for my many blessings.

      Gwenn

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