Part of a little series (for lack of a better term) about the wisdom I’ve been provided through time spent in the wilderness. God has made metaphors of certain experiences on the trail, camping, and walking among trees and mountains which have created insightful parallels for life at home. These posts are to share those illustrations as I felt they were revealed to me – to “pay it forward” so to speak. I write them not because I think them revelational, but maybe because someone else out there needs these illustrations too. So, perhaps this is for you.
5. contradiction – (noun) a situation in which inconsistent elements are present.
While out running this morning, it rained in full sunlight.
Small amber gems drifting gently down from a clear sky. Back-lit droplets that glowed like miniature suns as they fell to the ground. Each orb a momentary dance of light – blink and you’ve missed it. A symphony of opposites – sun and rain.
I delight in this kind of contradiction.
I am not sure why this is…why I love finding contradictions, especially those in the outdoors. Maybe it is because I feel I’ve witnessed something not quite allowed – a breaking of a natural law, the endangered species of natural phenomena. Maybe it is because I feel like such a contradiction myself – the things my heart wants seem like they could never be married together in a single life, let alone a single moment of a single life. Take my desire to work outside but to also work with words. Take my wanderlust by also my heart for longing for the comfort of a home far away. Take my value of faith but interrogative spirit, always longing for a plan and an explanation to hold on to.
The occurrence of rain in sunshine creates one of Nature’s finest contradictions – rainbows. Rainbows: the symbol of promise. Rainbows: the reminder to stop and look up. Rainbows: the stuff of fiction, hues that shouldn’t exist outside of artificiality. Rainbows: always on the horizon, but never reachable.
But rainbows are also a contradiction. Putting the science simply – light bends (bends people) when traveling through one medium (air) to another medium (rain drop), and this bending of light allows the various component colors of light to emerge – a rainbow. Colors out of white light. A celebration of light only released in the presence of a form of a storm. What a delightful contradiction
Thinking of contradictions…delighting in natural contradictions…reminded me of a verse:
The Lord directs our steps, why try to understand everything along the way? (Proverbs 20:24)
Candidly – when I first read this verse years ago, I scoffed at it. I love knowledge – and this can be good, but it can also be bad. My love of knowledge has given me a yearning for learning (see my posts about the PhD season I’m in), a fixation on interrogation, and an addiction for prediction. I like to learn, I like to ask, and I like to anticipate what is coming. I don’t know if this is every human condition, or just the breed of condition that I belong to, but I want things to make sense and fit into neat little packages, to follow patterns I can recognize, rationalize, and anticipate. But my life seems to (at least recently) very rarely deliver in such a manner.
While I scoffed at this verse initially, I’ve grown fond of it since then. I realized that the message this Proverb contained spelled out freedom from the weight of believing that things need to “make sense” for one to have a sense of being on the right path. I realized that the message this Proverb contained allows one to delight in contradictions.
Furthermore, just as with the golden dance of back-lit raindrops and the stunning fantasy of a rainbow, if there were no contradictions permitted in the wiring of this life, then we’d rarely get to revel in childlike delight.
We all need a little reveling.