Perceiving Contrast Brings Pleasure

I learn today how sensitive the human eye is to contrast.   In fact, perceiving contrast brings pleasure.  We actually enjoy it.   This explains why I can’t take my eyes off of my hostas.  The contrast of white on green keeps me planted. 

Or my weeping cherry that now has cherries.  That deep cherry red on green (with the sun shining upon it) brings out some joy in me. 

Or, of course, the strawberry patch.  Red and green again!  I actually feasted on this berry right after I snapped the photo.  Sweet and juicy. 

I think about what catches my eye and delights my senses.  It’s always contrast–juxtaposition. 

I’m so thankful for contrast–light and dark, hope and despair, joy and sorrow, suffering and relief.  Beauty and worship come in the crossfire between these opposing states.  There’s a sweet spot in the contrast that catches my breath and lets me see inside a spiritual reality.  I’m not afraid of the darkness or the despair anymore.  It’s contrast that shows me truth, beauty, and wonder. 

My own vision depends upon contrast, so why wouldn’t my spiritual eyes? 

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Journal:  What contrast do I see today? 

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And There Was Light!

We’re slumped upon the kitchen table.  One daughter labors over math homework while the other colors slowly on paper.  I’m answering an email, sighing.  The day feels sluggish and old, dark and spent. 

Then, light invades through the kitchen window.

An hallelujah chorus of dappled light dances all around us.  For days–months–we’ve been in the dark shadow of winter.  The sky looks more like a sidewalk.

But not now.  Not for this one glorious moment when light breaks through.  The forest sparkles with it.  The sky has never seemed so blue, so wide, so clear. 

We bask in it. 

To bask means to derive great pleasure from something.  As I open wide the door and feel the sun on my face, I realize what makes this moment so pleasurable.

It’s because it’s been so very dark, so very gray.  

I’m thankful for contrast in my life.  I realize that’s the only way I learn to bask.  The hot showers I love because I’ve known the freezing ones; the deep breath of air I relish because I battled congestion for a month; the authentic community I cherish in my neighborhood because I’ve walked the road of loneliness; the joy rising up in my heart, so precious, because I once knew the despairing days of depression.

The beauty of contrast:  what we bask in because we’ve seen its absence.  A blessing, a mystery.

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Journal:  Can we only know joy by contrast?

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