‘divinity is in the differences’ — quote from an analysis on ‘Alice in Wonderland’
we learn at a very young age to make distinctions. we learn that to touch the stove is not the best thing for ur hands. we learn that disneyland is a fun place to go. we learn that if one of our parents raise their voice that either they are excited or angry at us. we learn that the world is full of all kinds of different colors. we learn that people aren’t all the same. we learn that our dad isn’t the unbreakable superhero we once thought he was. things get categorized into their prospective boxes. most of the time, because, those same boxes we are taught to fit things into, were also the same boxes either our parents or society around us have been taught to put them there.
we fit, we pry, we squeeze and mold until we get all the things ‘where they should be’.
we have also been taught to do this with contradiction. even though we may have heard of the old adage that ‘there are two sides to every coin’, we rant and rave until we get a coin that fits our worldview. so when we’re young and we get praised by our parents and then get scolded our chided for our bad behaviour we do our darndest to try and do things that make them happy. because when we make them happy, we get to hold the side of the coin that makes us feel better about ourselves. the same in our workplace, we don’t welcome the dichotomy of praise and punishment. (don’t get me wrong, i am not advocating an attitude of masochism).
the authors of the bible try their hardest to deal with the paradoxes of who God is and how one might interact with their Creator. but instead of trying to make boxes and manicure their life situations to look like everything neatly fits ‘where it should’, they embraced the contradictions. you see this a lot with the authors in the Psalms. At the beginning of some of their poems they are questioning whether God even exists, then by the end of their catharsis, they praise God. you also see this in the book of Lamentations and Job.
Stories, or metapors that demonstrate that life isn’t meant to be fit in boxes. that we are meant to ‘let it all hang out’. all the blemishes, all the bruises, all the confusion, all the questions, all the blood and bring it to God. and inhale and exhale in the process.
rather than creating a chasm of even more confusion by trying to fully understand the contradictions in our lives, maybe we can embrace them. rather than see contradictions as enemies, seem them as the black outlines that give a picture its significance. or the staccatos and crescendos in an orchestra piece. or the pauses in a poetic work. the ancient followers of God believed that God was found in the chasm between hope and despair. between love and hate. between grace and sin. between dark and light. God was in the middle of it all, literally.
The more we try to separate and logically make sense of the contradictions in our lives is the moment we unintentionally cast God out. It’s also the moment we deny what it means to be human. once we learn to embrace the things we once rejected, not only is there healing that happens, the chasm that once divided is now the bridge that unites.