I took this shot whilst visiting the building site that is our home this last week. As I looked at the photo, the word that came to mind was ‘juxtaposition’. I love it as a word – juxtaposition – the way it rolls off the tongue. It starts with a hard, almost jarring, ‘jux’ and then tapers into a soft ‘tion’ at the end. Which is apt when you consider what the word means
Juxtaposition: ‘The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.’
So things or images placed together that create a startling contrast: hard with soft, light with dark, gloomy with cheerful.
I guess my photo is an example of the juxtaposition of two views. There is the pile of slabs, the mess, the indication of the upheaval of the demolition that is going on out of shot, against the calm serenity and unspoilt beauty of the coast, sea, sky and mountains beyond. In fact the whole building site is one great juxtaposition. There are instances of it all over the place – the period windows against the new plasterboard walls, the glorious view looking out of the window, against the not so glorious view looking back in through the same windows!
It got me thinking. We are surrounded in life with juxtaposition. This last year or so has highlighted that more than ever. We live among contrasts and conflicts. There is joy and there is grief – like a sovereign celebrating her birthday within days of burying her beloved consort. There is laughter and there is tears, often in the same day, or at the same occasion. We are socially distanced, and separated by miles, but perhaps closer in some ways via Zoom, than we ever have been before. We celebrate life events and walk through our days of work and family life, and yet around us the world is still in turmoil. Perhaps it is all just one big juxtaposition.
As Christians we know all too well what it means to live in tension. We know the reality of the Kingdom and all that God promises and yet somehow the reality of life, as we perceive it, doesn’t always seem to fit with what we believe. We sometimes have to choose to look beyond the things we see, feel, and understand, and hold on to the truth His word promises and declares. We can have hope because of what Jesus did on the cross and because of what is promised us, in eternity, and in the here and now.
When you look at that photo, or at this one, where are your eyes drawn? I’d like to guess that you don’t focus on the mess in the foreground but instead your eyes are instinctively drawn to the beauty beyond. That’s how it should be with us. We need to learn to live in the juxtaposition that life throws at us, by not focussing on the mess that seems to be closest to us, but by focussing our eyes, hearts and minds on the expansive, light filled, beauty that is Him.
God knows and understands. The cross was perhaps the biggest juxtaposition of them all. Love hung bleeding, for the sins of us all, the righteous for the unrighteous. Separated from God so that we could draw near. Death bringing life. Our reason to hope.
The Healing, my debut novel is described this way ‘impossible to read without encountering hope.’ Part of my healing journey was learning to choose hope in the face of despair and you can read more about it in the book. It was published by Instant Apostle on 19th March 2021, and is now widely available in both paperback and kindle format.
Signed paperback copies are also available direct from me at www.joymargetts.com for £9.99 including UK postage.