Yesterday I logged on to Facebook and the first thing that I saw was a true testament to one of life's many realities. There were two different posts, one right after the other from my friends and they both told seemingly similar yet extremely different stories.
One post was made by a friend expressing his exhaustion and deep anguish after burying his father and the other, a collage of photos and smiles, was a post celebrating a father's birthday. Two posts, back to back, both describing emotions towards a father, but they couldn't be more different. One was saturated in joy and happiness while the other truly embodied the sadness that comes from the loss of a loved one.
This extreme contrast led me to a few moments of reflection about the fact that with every moment of pure joy and love that is experienced, someone somewhere, is in pain. How is it possible that these two contrasting emotions are weaved into our lives so seamlessly.
Why does there have to be any sadness? Can't there just be joy?
Yes, maybe those are optimistic and maybe even naive questions to ask but haven't you ever had the same thoughts? Haven't you looked at a picture and reminisced about an event wishing that you could relive it over and over for the rest of your life? I think that it's human to see something like one person celebrating their dad's birthday and the other mourning their dad's passing and being moved emotionally by it. Moved to the point where you start asking questions and seeking answers for why things happen the way that they do.
Why can't there just be joy?
Well, honestly I don't know the answer to that question. I don't know the answer to a lot of questions. What I do know is that I've felt the pain of loss and I've also felt the warmth of joy. I know what it's like to cry and cry until your body can't do anything else except sleep.
Life will tell anyone who takes the time to look that with every moment of joy there is undoubtedly moments and glimmers of pain.
With that being said I think that it would be a shame to go through life dreading the irrefutable end. It would be a waste of life to spend this time running from the death that will eventually find us all. Wouldn't it?
In a few months I'll be the one posting about my wonderful father on his birthday and one day, years and years from now, I'll be speaking about him in the past tense.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this or even what I'm feeling right now but what's coming to my head in this moment is that life is a balancing act. It's an act of living in the present and building a life that is filled with love and joy. It's about leaving a legacy and it's also about what comes next. It's about knowing that this, every thing we see around us and all that we touch, doesn't last forever.
It's knowing that in one second someone you know may be mourning a loss while the other is rejoicing in celebration over another year of a life.
What interesting and ever changing lives we all lead.