Life is full of contrasts: joy-sorrow, peace-violence, love-hate, hope-despair.

This has definitely been a week of contrasts. 

I’ve seen joy through my children. I witnessed joy in my son’s exclamation, “We’re finishing the loop!” as he came around the last corner of Vancouver’s seawall to discover our car, and more importantly, his accomplishment. I saw joy in my daughter’s eyes at the simple, yet profound for a 1.5-year-old, game of peekaboo at the park. To be able to witness their discovery is a wondrous thing to behold. In these times, life truly is a joy.

But as we’ve seen in daily news reports, sorrow has continued its’ reign around our world and in our lives. Here in North America, the Boston Marathon bombing is one tragedy among many around the world where death and destruction invades life. And in the wake of such tragedies, we hear stories revealing how our unity in the face of disaster goes only as far as our stereotypes allow. In these times, sorrow overwhelms life.

Joy. Sorrow. Together. This unavoidable contrast.

I struggle to live with and engage these contrasts. I think we all do. With every tragedy I can become numb to the news of violence and death. And amidst the busyness of parenting, I can become distracted from noticing the daily wonder in a child’s world. In both cases - joy and sorrow - I stop paying attention.

I mentioned recently how wisdom is tied to paying attention - we need to notice what’s around us in order to engage what’s around us. This week I'm reminded to celebrate joy and suffer in sorrow. Instead of avoidance, numbness or distraction, we need to live with the contrasts. After all, life is full of contrasts.


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