It’s that time of year again.
Sweet and Sour. Black and White. Joy and Sorrow. Good and Bad. Happy and Sad. Excitement and Dread.
Two opposites. More of one and less of the other, but still the two mingled together in some measurement.
For the last two weeks my son asked that the dreaded phrase, “school is beginning soon,” not be spoken aloud in his presence. He didn’t want to be reminded that summer was almost over more often than necessary. “School is beginning soon,” signaled to him the end of the summer. End of free time and periods of nothing to do. That freedom from a structured day is almost over.
School starting is both sad and happy.
Every once-in-a-while he would mourn the fact aloud, and I would listen.
Now the tide is turning. He is starting to get excited about school starting. Listing the reasons he likes school aloud to me. Assuring himself that he will enjoy it. He has in the past, why not now? Won’t it be fun to see new friends? Learn new things? Get back to math?
I watch him waffle between joy and sorrow, and I think about the last day of school just months ago where he was saying he was so happy for summer, but also a little sad that school was over.
A sweetness and a sourness mixed together. Conflicting emotions over the same event.
Most everything in life is that way. A lot of sadness and a little happiness. Or vice versa.
A marriage starting is so joyous, but it is also the closing of a chapter of singleness.
A child being born is joyous, but also the end of long interrupted showers. There are adjustments to get used to.
A grandmother dies and there is a longing to see her again, a sadness and emptiness that she is no longer a part of this life. Yet a seed of happiness that now she is greeting the saints and family members that went before her. A small smile tugs on your corners when you think of her dancing and singing in the presence of God. Never will she know pain, sadness, disappointment, and the other things that weigh us down on earth.
A sadness and loneliness when a child moves away to college, and yet joy at their opportunities and new chapter in their life.
Despair during a time of trial, yet on the other side a new awareness and growth.
Regret that the vacation has only 8 more hours left, but also a tiny excitement at seeing the pets again, resettling back into a routine, and sleeping on your very own pillow again.
There is a sadness of moving away and leaving friends and the known, yet a tiny seed of adventure that is excited to see what the new destination will bring.
I am not sure everything has the two opposites, but it seems like so many milestones, so many small and large chapters of life are laced with the two. Which in a way, makes so many things easier to accept. It makes it easier to keep moving one foot forward. To count our blessings. To sing in the early morning. To hope for things unseen. To hang on for another day. To trust God with our future.
Somewhere along the journey we realize that God blesses us with emotions of opposite degrees. Sadness will not clothe us physically for the rest of our life, nor will happiness. We live in a realm tinged by the two.
Join the Discussion: What are some Bittersweet things in your life? Does this mixing of two emotions hold true for you?