A while back I wrote these words:
“To feel trapped is to know there is an exit. To feel alone is to know that out there, somewhere, is a companion. To feel distant is to know what closeness once felt like. To feel is to have felt an antonym.” ~ 11-2-05
For some reason these words came back to me lately. Like a flood they swept through my mind every day for the past week – eroding away at my thoughts.
To have felt anything means that we have, at some point in our lives, felt its antonym. My joy is heightened by knowing that I have at some point experienced pain and sadness; my loneliness is deepened as I remember that at some moment in my life I have experienced companionship and friendship.
When we feel we do not think like this, but if we did it might help us better understand why a moment seems so enjoyable or so painful. And as I think about this I can’t help but ask the question:
If we were to recognize the antonym of our feelings how would it help us deal with those current feelings?
If I were to recognize that the antonym of my sadness was joy, how would that affect my sadness? If I were to understand that the antonym of my peace and contentment was suffering, how would that change the way I looked at the peace surrounding me?
My belief is that either way we experience hope. If I see joy as the opposite to my sadness I am reminded that joy exists beyond this moment, and if I see suffering as the opposite of my contentment I rejoice in knowing that suffering is distant from the current moment. Hope works its way into both our pain and joy, through their antonyms.
Maybe I’m too much of a optimist for my own good, but this is how I see it, and I think we’d all be better off seeing it as such.