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Glimmering Contradictions

Contradictions get a bad rap. Embrace your own but more importantly, seek to understand the contradictions in others. When we understand the substance of a person, we can lean on each other to navigate our way through life--and the night.

We are all a contradiction of sorts, truth be told. In a world such as ours, could it be any other way?

The swampy bayou that harbors the alligator also illuminates with the light of a thousand lightning bugs. Sandy soil inherent to South Georgia produces sweeter vegetables. The heat of the desert is dotted with flowering cacti. A serene beach front peacefully coexists with rip tides and currents. The allure of a cool, dark forest gives no notice of the mosquitos and ticks hiding within.

If you look up the meaning of contradiction, you could say the choice of words providing the definition are not overly positive.

contradiction noun

1. a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.

2. a person, thing, or situation in which inconsistent elements are present.

3. the statement of a position opposite to one already made.

And yet, do you know who are the most fascinating people? Those who embody contradictions. The hermit who practices the purest forms of generosity. The gleeful personality who suffers from invisible disabilities or trauma. The fragile soul who has stood up in acts of bravery few would ever dare. The child who carries the wisdom of generations prior.

All are a deep well of stories and backgrounds juxtaposed with where life takes us, and who we are at our core. These stories pull us in, whisper to our conscious and unconscious mind, and give us sustenance to face the morrow. We find them in the lists of bestsellers, the blockbuster movies near you, and in the conversations over cocktails.

And yet, we fail to see the glimmers of stories that surround us every day. The impoverished mother who loves so deeply no weapon or circumstance could pierce. The illiterate loner who plays music by ear. The veteran who devotes their life to furthering peace. The victim who finds their voice, and in so doing, their purpose.

We all have these contrasts.

Perhaps it is the writer in me that seeks to understand the contradictions in everyone. Dive beneath the surface and you will find there is always a story worth telling. It may not always be a wonderland of sunshine and rainbows and in fact, most of the time it isn’t. This gravitational world we live in will always bring us down, but it is not so strong as to prevent us from soaring. Those push and pull forces define us all in different ways: the way we think, act, believe, and simply—live.

When you understand the substance of a person, a beautiful thing happens. Your horizons broaden. You are able to see what was hidden within the shadows.

When we find ourselves on a rowboat, lost amongst the maze of bayous with night fast approaching, our heart may leap into our chest. The sounds of bullfrogs and changing tides, coupled with the fear of the unknown quickens our pulse. Anxious, we look around for something, anything, to guide us. Gradually our eyes adjust, and a single glimmer appears. It disappears and reappears, slowly and enchantingly. Another glint of light comes and goes. Then a radiating pulse of light wraps you within its sphere, illuminating the night. The panic recedes as the hypnotizing beauty of the lightning bugs weaves you into its web.

We are all the lightning bugs, guiding one another through the abyss of life.

Are we not richer for it?

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