a quick personal note:
something i have been caught in for months has been the idea of what we will call ‘the tension of a thousand boths’.
it came about in conversation with one of my dearest friends, as we spoke of God and death and life and suffering and sickness and us trying fruitlessly to be clean amongst the muck of this thing called life. the tension is about how when you ask God a question and present it ‘is it this, or that?’ so often He responds with ‘yes’. and He does so because so often it is, or He is, truly both. (or perhaps it is because our questions are not quite right?) when we place before God only two options, even in light of Him being boundless and infinite, when we place before Him the left or the right; the black and white, yes and no, positive negatives and negative positives, simultaneously contradictory and yet! would one not be true without the other? and yet they’re both true. and yet…
‘God is this, BUT He is also that.’
‘life is this, BUT it isn’t.’
‘death is this, BUT it is also not.’
tonight i was reading through my friend’s online journal, and came across a post she wrote when we initially spoke of this tension back in october. all of her posts are striking me hard on the left and the right tonight, as i sit and think of her own sickness, as well as my mother’s and another one of my closest friend’s. (how the tension in their lives extends beyond the ‘boths’ and encompasses it exponentially more as they hang, so much more aware, between health and sickness, between what-was and what-now-is, and certainly even more aware of the space between life and death.)
‘the tension of a thousand boths’ has been scratching at my mind for months. her words take it a different direction from my own thoughts on it, but that is what i love about what she wrote: about this tension, and from inside this tension. as she suffers and swings and finds joy and peace and God in a greater way than i ever have.
“I found myself writing in my journal recently, “We live in the tension of a thousand ‘boths’.”
Both life is hard and it is unspeakably sweet.
I suffer with others and I cannot carry their suffering.
Happiness is lost and joy is discovered.
Suffering is big and near while God is bigger and nearer.
We cannot avoid fear, we can avoid doubt-fused-fear.
Death exists and it is behind us not ahead.
Achievement is oft-flattened; growth is deepened.
We cannot control our hardship and we can control who we choose to be in it.”