I thoroughly enjoy a good paradox. By sheer definition it’s a pair of opposites that holds truth. Even the definition is a paradox. It excites my inner philosophy to explore beneath the surface. I believe that extremes often find guilt in a common place. For instance, because I’m an educational therapist: no child left behind. It was designed with the intent to guarantee that ALL children will succeed through public education, or at least that’s what we were told. However, in practice is it resulting in quite the opposite. When each extreme is pulling so hard, it must be rooted in the same core so it doesn’t break. North Pole, South Pole, both are poles. I really do enjoy it.
I spent the weekend in a remote setting. No television was viewed, no internet updated, with the exception of messages from Mom. Hi Mom! No phone calls were made. Only the Pirate game on the radio was heard by external mechanical means. I had set out with this intent to unplug, to disconnect in order to reconnect.
Instead of filling my time with empty minutes online, I spent the time with my family, and in quiet thought individually. We hiked with our curiously crazy puppy through the woods on a mildly disorienting path. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for lunch, and giggled when the occasional marshmallow was lost off the hot stick. There was target practice of the shot gun and archery types. There was even the most amazing level of family cooperation when the aromas of our fire roasted meal invited a rather large, curious, black bear. Calmly, but swiftly, we grabbed our supplies, the dog, and scurried to safety inside the camp. Controlled chaos at its best.
I rested, cried (see First Step), read, and enjoyed the deafening silence that remote nature can offer to a city slicker. The silence was by no means silent. The rustling of leaves and grasses, and soft sounds of critters big and small filled the quiet space.
Maybe there are no true opposites. Is it all relative? There is good and bad within us all. Without the bad, how can we appreciate the good? We must be able to appreciate the role of each. I’m convinced that it all serves a true purpose.
“No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:29, 30 NABRE)
As we concluded our stay, and as I begin a busy week, I hold steady between the two extremes, finding the paradoxical truth of a careful balance with the connection to what is real. My family, nature, and my part in each, which leads me forward one more step.