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Posts Tagged ‘opposites’

There is a yin and yang to most, it not all, portions of our life and living.

Where there is weakness in one area,

there co-exists strength nearby.

Where there is sadness in one area,

there is joy close by.

Where there is foolishness in abundance,

just around the corner, there is supreme knowledge and wisdom.

It would seem that there is an ongoing co-existence of opposites in our lives, but does that have to be the way we interpret it?

Ecclesiastes 3 is full of such ‘opposites’ :

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

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As we read through these comparisons we cannot simply read them, and see them as opposites. They are also complements …

– like the colors on an artists color wheel, that which is directly across, actually enhances the other.
– like the rotation of the earth around the sun, bringing day then night.

When we hear of a death, as well as a birth, in the same family, in the same week … the birth is made more beautiful, more dear the breath of life, and the sting of death can be diminished by the joy of new life.

When we weep, with great sorrow in our hearts, words from a friend that allow us to also experience a deep belly laugh are words of freedom from the weight of sorrow.

To uproot cam be to reap the benefits of planting.

Sometimes, the only way for peace to reign, is from the effects of war.

In these contrasting complements, there is also a promise, and assurance, that we frequently forget as we read … as we live. This promise comes at the beginning of these verses, and again at the end … hum, it is repeated … maybe it is that which we should write a song about, rather than the verses which became a great seller for Pete Seeger.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1

“God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11a

In both verse 1 and verse 11a, there is a great reminder … there is beauty in all situations, and all situations have a season … a beginning and an end.

This tough time that you might be going through … causing you to weep, or mourn, or be silent, or feel as though death itself is preferable … it had a beginning, and it will have an end. And when it has had it’s season, soak up the complementary season, and look back to see the bright light that the ‘dark side’ has brought you.

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It is said, by them, that opposites attract.00769-funny-cartoons-porcupine

They say that the characteristics that drive us buggy each and every day (not in my relationship, of course) about each other are the same characteristics that drew us to our nemesis love in the first place.

For instance, the hubby who is frustrated with his wife’s inability to just get at a task and get it done, also loved how she would drop whatever she was doing to spend time with him when they first met. The woman who would like to wring her hubby’s neck for talking to every person in the grocery store, once respected how friendly he was to people.

So, we are advised by them to focus on the good side of those characteristics, rather than on the side that causes the emotional equivalent of an anaphylactic shock (not always an easy task without epinephrine!).

Truly living together can leave a person prickly!

I drive my hubby nuts because I put off each and every telephone-related task that I need to make. He drives me nuts because a telephone is a permanent part of his appearance.

I have probably caused hubby to lose years off his life (and definitely sleep) by bringing the dreaded beasty into our home and life. He has probably caused me to lose years of my life driving with him.

And speaking of driving, those solar signs that tell you what speed you are going make me slow down to dangerously low speeds because I am always so panicked by their presence. Hubby, on the other hand sees them and speeds up to see just how high he can get the number to go! But, I digress …

The yin and yang of the pairing within a marriage relationship can seem ridiculously unnatural. Sort of like the fantastic combination of balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a salad … they do not even stay mixed together! Or dollops of cold sour cream onto hot and spicy tacos. Or the brightness of the stars on the darkest night. Or putting animal dung on the same soil where we plant crops (and if you think I am going to identify which in the marital relationship is the plant and which is the dung …).

Or the combination of a man and woman, biologically, emotionally, socially opposites. Yet if God himself is the one responsible for the matching of male and female, I guess He must know what He was doing in making us not just opposite, but attractive to each other as well.

“The Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18

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Twenty-three years! How can it be?

What were we thinking twenty-three years ago, as we stood in front of friends, and family, and God promising to love and honor and obey (yes, obey) “until death do us part”?

I know what I was thinking, “this is going to be easy, because we are so much alike.”

Ya, right! Of course we had only met about one year earlier, so, what we knew of each other was alike, and what wasn’t was shaded by rose-colored glasses.

We were young, too young (I say that as a now older woman who can see what each of us may have missed out on … the gift of knowing God’s calling for us as individuals before we were to become one couple … but that is topic for another post). Hubby was fresh out of university, only twenty-three. I was fresh out of my drafting program, just twenty. And we embarked on a lifelong, covenant relationship.

After twenty-three years, I now know that we are more opposite than alike, and easy could never describe marriage.

I also know that what we share, similarities and differences alike, is held together by the covenant that we both hold dearly. The marriage covenant is more commonly known my the word promise, but a covenant is more than a promise, more than something you say, more than something you do. It is a vow that includes us two, and the originator of covenants.

Really the marriage covenant is a metaphor for the covenant that God made with Israel (Genesis 17:7):

“I will establish my covenant, an everlasting covenant
between me and you and your descendants after you

for the generations to come,
to be your God
and the God of your descendants after you.”

God’s covenant was that He would be the God of Israel, from before the beginning of time (everlasting) to everlasting. A marriage covenant is like this in that it is a promise between a woman and a man that nothing will separate them, like God from His people.

But, like the Israelite people, we who make a covenant with another in marriage, fail to live up to our end of the agreement. And that sometimes means we are wandering through the desert, tired, frustrated, disappointed and there is no Promise Land in sight.

Like God’s chosen people, who were probably heard muttering under their breath, “well God, where is the land flowing with milk and honey?” we wives and husbands can dwell on the (yet) unfulfilled promises of our wedding day. Promises get broken, expectations do not get met, dreams fade, and the wandering in No Man’s Land is endless. It can begin to feel that marriage is more like a life sentence.

But, it is a covenant, and God is not dismayed by the unfaithfulness, broken promises and apathy from His people. In Jeremiah (31:31-34) God provides yet another opportunity to meet at the alter:

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Let me re-write that as a wife (who has lost the rose-colored glasses from the alter):

Soon, we will simply need to start over,
you and I.
We cannot still make the vows we made back in the stone ages,
before wrinkles and cellulite
before broken promises, and disappointments,
even though we both made promises many years ago.
We need a fresh promise, a brand new covenant.
God would agree with that, and He will be faithful,
and others will see Him through this covenant He has for us
 not just because He has been faithful in the past,
but because of what He will do in the days to come.
We, you and I,
we’ve got baggage.
But, a new start, a new covenant,
That could give us the chance to forgive each others broken promises,
and remember each others sins no more.

Happy Anniversary,
From everlasting to everlasting,

Your Bride

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