If we only knew "good" times the word would lose its very meaning. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
I have often contemplated the question, “Why is it that we have to wait for the afterlife to have peace and happiness?” I thought, “Surely a loving God would take us straight there? What is the point of being on Earth in the first place?”
Why would God want me to not have “good times” now if He loved me?
However, it occurred to me that the reason why I appreciate “good times” is because I have something in direct contrast to compare it to, the “bad times”.
Suppose it were always sunny, and the weather was perfect, and that our lives were in short, perfect. Perhaps you could say “yes, I’d be happy all the time, and isn’t that great?”
However, how did we come to label good times “good” in the first place?
It’s because we had a contrast.
If you think about black and white photography, how could you possibly see a photo if it were “all white” or “all black”? We wouldn’t see anything. It’s the contrast that allows us to see the picture in the first place!
If you think about “Night” and “Day”, how did we come to know what “night” was, and what “day” was? It’s because we obviously know the difference. They are in direct contrast to each other.
“Black” and “White” are opposites. “Night” and “Day” are opposites.
Suppose it were sunny all the time. How would we even come up for the name “Day”?
Suppose we didn’t have night-time. It was always day-time. Suppose we didn’t have to sleep.
It would be a time of sameness all the time. There would be no contrast.
And without the contrast of “happy” and “sad”, there would be no appreciation. Or feeling “up” and feeling “down”.
We need opposites. We need them for recognition. We need them to know.
The reason I have found this recently acquired personal philosophy helpful is to help me not to be so afraid of the “bad”. The down times used to scare me. However, when I think of it like this, that my appreciation and “knowing” could stem from “contrast”, I know that it will pass. Night will become day again.
So, when bad times come, know they tend to pass, too.
Of course, there are times where there seems more of the bad and less of the good.
However, know it’s because of the contrast that you know in the first place.
Of course, there are times when there is more of a reason for the ‘dark’. Perhaps you’ve had a personal trauma, for example, from grief, to illness to a relationship break-up.
The light will come again, it may just take a bit longer. You may need that extra bit of support. We all do, at times of personal difficulty for whatever reason.
However, I have sometimes felt sad for seemingly no reason at all. This has been particularly helpful to see that perhaps my so-called “depression” may be nothing more than “contrast”.
It makes me appreciate the “happy” more.
If you think about times when you’ve been really, really hungry. You may have had a busier day than normal. You appreciate food more. You “know” what “I’m full” means because you know what “I’m hungry” means.
If you kept eating after you were “full” you don’t appreciate the food. In Western society there is more than enough to eat. We have housing. We have welfare benefits. We have medical care.
In the Third World, there isn’t enough food. In some countries people are homeless. There are no ‘rescues’ such as welfare. “Depression” there is less of an issue. There they have far more primary needs. It’s interesting that “depression” is a Western term. We have all our other needs met.
Also, when the need for something, such as food is extreme, such as in developing countries, the appreciation for it is greater. I am grateful for a drink of water when I’m thirsty – I can’t imagine the extent to which that would exist if I hadn’t had a drink in weeks!
I know this helps me, when I complain about smaller things. I know thinking this way will help me with my “depression”. For example, I feel my sadness has been extreme, so I am extremely grateful I had this insight.
Contrast and “opposites” I have been contemplating, are kind of necessary!
I would be interested in feedback about what others think