there’s some premises in life, some concepts that live in a nether region.  cursed with struggle but flooded with goodness.  good_vs_evil_pictureashx

hope and love for example.


have you ever really thought about hope?  we often talk about hope as this overwhelmingly positive thing.  but the truth is that whenever there’s hope, it’s paired with absence.  hope means that whatever that hope is aimed at hasn’t yet arrived.  hasn’t yet been realized.  and so you hope.  it’s an emotion that i rely on and that i find immense security in, but it’s ultimately not very secure.  there’s no guarantee that hope will ever be realized.  and yet we embrace hope so energetically.  even though it lives between reality and extinction.


love is one of our most sought after attributes.  to be loved feels so freeing.  it ideally means someone values us for who we are.  but love is bondage.  it leads us to action.  it requires movement.  i sometimes hear people talk about hate (the opposite of love) as slavery.  it drives you to negative action.  but love is just as enslaving.  we allow this slavery because the ends are good and the means appear genuine to us.  in fact, maybe it’s the difficulty of love that makes it so compelling.  it’s like when something is too sweet, it’s syrupy & overwhelming.  but something tastes good when it’s a mix of sweet and sour, or when the “goodness” is tempered.  and so sacrifice and duty and loyalty all temper love and forces us to count the cost and, ultimately, appreciate the objects of our love (and that love us back) all the more.  but love is not the easy, happy solution that it’s sometimes portrayed as.  it’s freedom and servitude, all in one.


so these are just a couple thoughts that struck me, randomly.  the ideas on hope are something i’ve been ruminating on for awhile.  the thoughts on love were just provoked this afternoon.  so what do you think…how do the two sides of these concepts play against each other (or conspire together)?  and are there other concepts that share similar paradoxes?


4 Responses to puzzling

  1. Nick B says:

    “and so sacrifice and duty and loyalty all temper love and forces us to count the cost and, ultimately, appreciate the objects of our love (and that love us back) all the more.”

    its b/c those people are worth it. we choose to love them and do everything that comes with it, no matter how difficult that might be, because they are worth it. they are valuable to us. and when we realize how worth it they really are, we appreciate them more than ever.

    you’re right.

  2. joeldaniel says:

    my friend, Shawn Belt, thought this was applicable after reading this post:

    “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

    and i agree…good thoughts, Shawn.

    (ps…he didn’t write that…it’s from Romans 5. but still…good thoughts)

  3. Ashley says:

    I would also suggest that the opposite of love could be apathy. I have come in contact with plenty of students that would take hate instead of love, just because they crave that “movement” so much–they don’t care whether it is positive or negative, they just want to be acknowledged. Apathy, on the other hand, is no movement whatsoever. Just a thought…

  4. joeldaniel says:

    hmmm…good thoughts ashley. apathy is its own sort of slavery, too, i think. it’s sort of like a downward spiral…the more apathetic you get about something, the less you care.

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