Last week began with a two-day stay at the hospital with my son for an unexpected procedure following a dramatic ER visit. This week started out with lovely spring weather and the chance to play in the dirt, planting pretty flowers.
One end of my garden zone is full of shriveled plants, brittle vines, and cracked, dusty pots that have been neglected during the winter. The other end of my garden is beginning to show splashes of color amidst freshly turned soil and vibrant green starter veggies.
It’s a contrast between what has faded away and what is blossoming with hopeful growth.
Last fall we were eager to get the school routine in full swing again, fresh school supplies nestled into tidy backpacks. As the school year is now dwindling into mere weeks, the energy level for it is more sludgy than springy.
Final exams and long-term project deadlines loom overhead and students are slinking out the door as late as possible, ripped backpacks slung quickly over their shoulders.
The end of something is strikingly different from its fresh beginning.
Nature is full of contrasts and what pulls us in to wander about in different environments, stretching us beyond our familiar.
Life is punctuated with peaks and valleys; our energy levels ebb and flow throughout the various seasons of family life.
These contrasts give us dimension and help strengthen our resolve to push onward. Contrasting experiences help us see deeper perspectives, softening our rough edges. We have the opportunity to adjust our outlook throughout the intensity of the highs and lows, transforming ourselves in the gritty middle.
Contrast draws us in closer in our relationships. It adds texture and intrigue.
Contrasting opinions broaden our discussions, widening our cultural lens.
Contrast keeps boring at a distance.
Photographers seek it; architects nurture it.
When we pause to appreciate the contrasts of the human experience, our inward reflections deepen and our connections with others can become more fully saturated as we see richer hues in those around us.
Perhaps we can glimpse a sparkle of hope where we had only previously seen darkness.
The raggedness of grief may slowly slip into sweet reminiscence.
Maybe we see the blossoming of a child as they overcome a personal struggle.
As graduation looms around the corner for many families, we’ll be struck by the contrast of our young, confident adults tackling their last days of school while we’re remembering their little faces on the first day of school.
They will be on the tippy toes of a new adventure while we’re clinging to their childhood for just a sliver longer. We’ll walk through the contrasting emotions of pride and loss; hope and disbelief . . . letting go and hugging just a little bit tighter. Parents will ponder, “how did this happen so fast?” while their kiddos wonder “will the last day evvver get here?”
Contrast highlights what’s important.
It sharpens our focus on details that matter.
It awakens our souls to pay attention.
Let’s embrace the contrasts that enrich our lives and weave us together ~~ God’s beautiful tapestry unfolding around us.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8