I love peanut butter. Crunchy. Creamy. Doesn’t matter as long as it is the all natural – no extra ingredients added, peanut butter. I love it on apples with my coffee in the morning. I add it it to smoothies for extra protein. The peanut butter Cliff Bars are a staple in our house. The combination of peanut-butter and chocolate makes me smile. Oh,what I would do for a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup right now.
I love oysters. There is something about placing a fresh oyster in your hand, grabbing a slice of lemon and gently squeezing it covering the entire oyster. Then taking Tabasco, cocktail sauce and horseradish and methodically creating a culinary masterpiece. The entire time your mouth waters as you anticipate that one perfect, euphoric, bite slurp.
But peanut butter covered oysters? Just the thought of grabbing a fresh oyster and slathering peanut butter, crunchy or creamy, all over it, and then trying to suck it down makes my stomach seize. There are some foods that just never, I mean NEVER, should go together. A Lobster tail dipped in hard chocolate? No! Mayonnaise covered watermelon? No! A smoothie made with kale, blueberries, and shrimp? No! I digress.
But then there are moments where you discover a combination of food that you thought should never go together. Yet in a sudden moment of weakness you try it and discover that the bizarre combination is a perfect match. Whoever thought of covering bacon with chocolate should get the Nobel Peace Prize. Garrett’s CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn (aka Garrett Mix) mix is simply utopian. Combine carrots, spices, and basic cake ingredients and cook to perfection, that will create a carrot cake food of art!
Over the past several weeks I navigated the last moments of my dad’s life. The range of emotions, thoughts and mental struggles have been numerous and overwhelming. I have experienced these various emotions separately, but never together in one harmonious symphony of sound. I experienced deep sorrow as I literally watched my dad die before my eyes. It is that type of sorrow that leaves you grasping for air – suffocating your spirit from the endless void that has crashed into your soul. Underneath the crushing weight of my sorrow, joy surged through my veins as I celebrated my dad’s life. Joy? Yes, Joy! It was a joy based off grasping the depth and width of my dad’s impact for God on so many lives, especially mine. Joy that came from the endless words of encouragement, messages, and stories that people shared with us from around the country. Joy that radiated from Dad’s cancer riddled body as he prayed with the hospice staff. Joy and sorrow. Two emotions that never seemed to ever go together, intertwined themselves together producing an harmonious soothing melody. Joy lifted the weight of my sorrow, and sorrow intensified my joy. Sorrow reflected the loss of someone who was my best friend, and joy celebrated the friendship that had been forged over the years. The long shadow of sorrow emerged from the reality that I would never talk to my dad on this earth again. Yet Joy radiated as the realization that his legacy will live on.
But it wasn’t just joy and sorrow that wove into the fabric of my soul. I experienced chaos and peace. The chaos of watching someone die is indescribable. (Well at least at this moment I can’t.) In the midst of the chaos, an indescribable peace calmed the surging waves crashing against my the shores of my soul.
Then it got me thinking. If sorrow and joy and chaos and peace can coexist in a beautiful combination of divine orchestration, then what other opposing combinations can we experience?
Contentment and discontentment: Can you be content in a season of discontentment? Think about it. Can we live in a season of extreme discontentment, begging God to move us out of this season of life and at the same time be completely content with the season God has us living? Contentment – knowing that God has you exactly where he wants you right now and at the same time possessing an ever burning discontentment within you, focused on discovering the direction that God is pointing you to go.
Anxiety and Assurance: Can you experience debilitating anxiety as you think about your future and at the same time experience a soothing assurance as you completely trust in God’s direction and plan for you life?
Doubt and Faith: Can doubt surge into your mind as you process the seemingly unanswerable questions of this universe and at the same time faith surrounds your doubt which keeps everything in perspective?
It is easy to focus on one, and shove the other emotion away. But maybe the better way to live life is to grab on to both and experience the fullness of countering emotions.
Maybe it is humanity intersecting with the divine?
What seemingly conflicting emotions have you experienced?
(Maybe next time I order oysters I might just ask for a side of peanut-butter. Who knows, maybe it is combination that will take the culinary world by storm.)