“Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is.” – Dita Von Tesse
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season;” 2 Timothy 4:2A
What is the best type of sunset? Is it the ones that happen on a clear evening without a cloud in the sky? Is it ones that include a beach or mountain? Is it the ones that occur after a day of storms and the clouds are lingering to catch the red glow of the sun? Which is it? Most have their preference. Mine is the sunset that includes dark clouds hovering around that seem to ignite with red and orange as the sun sinks low. The contrast between the dark and the light bring a symphony like no other. My family has this discussion everytime we experience a sunset on Lake Bruin in Louisiana. We all sit on a small pier that overlooks the water directly facing West into the sunset. We enjoy each and everyone, but the ones that include clouds are the ones we post on Instagram, Facebook, and the ones we print and hang on our walls. Why is that? Contrast.
I fondly remember growing up in the nineties. I remember always being ready for the next stage of life. Then when I got to the next stage I dreamed about going back. Life changes and I began to see that having the exact same events everyday was not a way to live. Even I got tired of summer and being “off” for three months. I decided a good mix of boring days and busy days was the way to live. Plus I don’t think I would even know what a busy day was if not for the boring ones.
Lately this blog has been left in the dust due to a bunch of “busy” days packed together for the last four months. The Spring months are by far the busiest ones of the year at my office I share with my father. It has been a whirlwind of events, meetings, and strategy. Now that the season has changed, I am starting to space out meetings, begin working on other projects, and taking time in the mornings to write, reflect, and prepare. As I sit at my kitchen table, watching my backyard, drinking a cup of coffee, and listen to acoustic guitar radio on Pandora, I appreciate the busy times and I realize that I have a new appreciation for these quiet times. This cup of coffee has never tasted so rich. Contrast.
In Fall 2013, I lost 25 lbs in a month, I developed a cough, and I woke every morning drenched in sweat. These were the result of having blood cancer, but I didn’t find out until I went for a PET scan. My general physician found something wrong with my blood first. See he compared my blood to that of someone without disease. He sent me to an X-ray machine and saw something that did not look right compared to how things should look. Then he sent me to get a PET scan.
At my first PET scan I was used to pictures of my insides by then. The tech placed me in a room and sat me in a comfy chair. I was then asked if I wanted to have Berry or Coffee flavored shake. Well Coffee sounded awful so I went with Berry. She walked in to give me what looked like a plastic bottle of milk that you would get at a gas station.
“Drink every bit of this,” she said.
“What does this do?” I asked.
“It makes the cancer glow, so we can see it. It’s called a Contrast.”
Contrast. With my cancer cells glowing in my body from my shake, my Oncologist could easily see the fist sized tumor sitting on my heart. Now the treatment could begin. Each scan after this showed the tumor smaller and eventually, my scan looked just like someone’s without cancer.
As a people, we are always comparing things, trying to figure out the “best” way to do things, the “best” way to think, and the “best” way to feel. We compare and contrast. Try to find the differences and the similarities. If everyday was boring or everyday was busy, we wouldn’t appreciate the other. But I know that without contrast, I wouldn’t know my favorite sunset, the doctor’s wouldn’t have found the cancer in my body, and I sure wouldn’t enjoy this quiet morning cup of coffee as much as I do now.
There is one great truth behind all this. Though the days change and we experience both prosperous and difficult times, Christ remains the same throughout. As it is stated in Hebrews
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8
He is the same through every experience. Always loving, always welcoming, always teaching. The thing about Christ is that He shows us what a glimpse of Heaven is. A place where we will truly contrast it to this life. My favorite picture of Heaven is at the close of the Chronicles of Narnia. C. S. Lewis writes:
“And as He (Aslan) spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to be prepared in season and out of season. I think He means in good times and bad. Christ is the same in all, so why not lean on Him, the constant? I thank Him for the contrast in life, because He is preparing me for the future where things are better and better, and that’s a Contrast I am looking forward to the most.