Juxtaposition and Continuity

3 July 2006

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked a number of times how I am doing/feeling. Each time I’ve had trouble searching for a word that describes it. I think that “juxtaposed” (or more accurately the phrase “juxtaposition of emotions”) is a helpful one. OK, quick vocabulary lesson: juxtaposed means two (or more) images/ideas placed together for contrasting effect. The accompanying picture is a contrast in architectural styles. The juxtaposition of the modern glass and steel structure with the surrounding stone and mortar castle-work illustrates the idea fairly well. Both construction methods sitting next to each other provide a sharp contrast.

Recently, my internal life has seemed a series of juxtapositions. My feelings of sadness and fear concerning my mother and her health are juxtaposed with feelings of joy and gratefulness that she is feeling normal and is able to live life like she always has. Feelings of grief and loss are juxtaposed with feelings of excitement and joy over new relationships (my second nephew and wonderful girlfriend). The seemingly monumental (mom’s health, new relationships, uncertainty about my future vocational options) is juxtaposed with the seemingly mundane (going to the store, painting my kitchen, worrying about my electric bill). To be honest, I don’t always know how to feel or which emotion I am feeling the most. I suppose I’m probably feeling many of them at the same time.

The one thing brings continuity to this collection of juxtapositions is God’s presence with me in the midst of all of them. Over the last year, passages about God being with us have become some of my favorites (Isaiah 43:1-7 and Psalm 23 especially). Even though I don’t experience it as much as I would like, I’m learning that God’s presence is more important than any set of circumstances we can experience. Whether it is joy or sorrow, fear or confidence, health or sickness, God promises to be with us. My prayer for myself, my mother and all who are journeying with us is that we would experience an increasing sense of Jesus’ presence in our lives. I invite you to pray the same.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by CM on July 10, 2006 at 3:55 am

    Great Post Bro! I found your blog after visiting your facebook site. I think I can relate to some of what you are saying. I feel like coming off of project and everything that God did there is being juxtaposed against my time here in KC that is a little blah…but good in its own way. Keep up the good work.


  2. Posted by chris on July 11, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    I think this is a rather profound observation of human experience. Thanks for sharing.


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