Sweet and Sour. Good and Bad. True and False. Right and Wrong. Rise and Fall.
Black and White. Night and Day. Pain and Glory. Misery and Joy.
Something in here struck my curiosity just now. If I look at the pairs of opposite words on the first line the positive words precede the negative one. If I look at the pairs below the negatives precede the positives. The next logical question would probably be…”Why?” We have experienced opposites since the day we were born except one which will come to every living organism like us when it is time: death. Sorry but metaphysics is not what I want to share here.
Did anyone of you watch that movie “Unbreakable”? If you give that movie a little bit of deep thought you will agree with Elijah Prince, the character played by Samuel Jackson suffering from a congenital disease of “glassy” bones, that somewhere in the whole Universe there is someone who possesses the exact opposite of his physical condition. Strong, unbreakable against his own, weak and fragile. In the story, that person was David Dunn, played by Bruce Willis. In real life, sure it happens. But what’s thought-provoking is if it is true that there is a more personal connection just like what the movie suggested. Like Elijah did to David, will you take pains to find out who or what is at the side opposite you?
In the movie, the ending revealed that in his fervent search for his opposite, Elijah on several occasions orchestrated accidents to single out the survivor who would escape unscathed. Finally, the train accident brought David forward to him, providing the conclusion that has eluded him throughout his life. You will probably realize that some of the answers are too painful to accept in real life as well. Although perhaps not in the same context, some parallels happen daily in life, all over the news. Some few examples are:
- Cities destroyed by war or natural calamities; booming construction projects
- Outbreak of a disease; sales of medicine and health protection
- Geese force-fed in farms harvesting their liver; the heavenly delight of eating foie gras in an elegant party
- Homesickness by OFW’s working away from their families; record-breaking billion-dollar worth of remittances to Pinas economy
This is the irony of life and each day we live it is always there. Most of the time we are not conscious of the ugly opposites and if we are, we simply ignore and insist staying on the side we are currently in. Very rarely we give them a thought and in seldom occasions that we do, we brush them off our minds immediately just like moving our eyes away from an unpleasant sight.
Until another roll of the dice and time selects us to be on that ugly side. And a message from the two sets of opposites above unfolds.
Sweet and Sour. Good and Bad. True and False. Right and Wrong. Rise and Fall – I decided that these are the choices we make in our lives. We can behave to make ourselves look sweet or sour to people. We can decide to do good or bad. We can be truthful or lying. We can do something right or something wrong. We can rise or fall. The positives precede the negatives. The positives are always presented first. And reading them in the opposite direction sounds awkward and a bit tongue-twisting, isn’t it? But in life, we are often not aware of the real choices until we rise above the surface. And the moment we are our decisions change:
- Geese force-fed in farms harvesting their liver; the heavenly delight of eating foie gras in an elegant party (or now that you know, will you stop eating this?)
- Homesickness by OFW’s working away from their families; record-breaking billion-dollar worth of remittances to Pinas economy (or now that I know will I still carry on for the sake of my family?)
Black and White. Night and Day. Pain and Glory. Misery and Happiness. – I decided that these are problems and solutions, losses and gains, death and resurrection we experience in our lives. The failures and defeats that require sacrifice until success and triumph. And the bitter lessons that each learns from the experience will make the negative go only in one direction to the positive and never back.
- Booming construction projects learned from cities destroyed by war or natural calamities
- Sales of medicine and health protection learned from outbreaks of diseases
- Our redemption from sin learned from the death of our Lord Jesus on the cross
In misery joy awaits.
And this gives me the reason to see the purpose of every opposite no matter how ugly it is.