“Then to cheer himself up he took out from its case on the dresser a strange little flute that looked as if it were made of straw and began to play. And the tune he played made Lucy want to cry and laugh and dance and go to sleep all at the same time.”C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, 13-14.
“Nothing presented to the soul is simple, and the soul never applies itself simply to any subject. That is why the same thing makes us laugh and cry.”Pascal, Pensees, 54.
Life sure is a mixed bag, isn’t it? How can such profound joy and sadness coexist? Worldviews that don’t make space for both are too simple. We have to be allowed to laugh and cry–sometimes at the same exact moment. I love Christianity because it has profound resources to both lament and rejoice. The Bible presents a view of reality that accounts for both pain and bliss. It teaches us to mourn with those who are mourning and to rejoice with those who are rejoicing.
So, if you deeply feel the mingledness of life–if it scares you, and makes you feel like life is absurd and meaningless–I would encourage you to consider that that is normal. It’s too-simple worldviews– that attempt to squeeze reality into wholly negative or wholly positive categories–that exacerbate the absurd.
Will you laugh and cry with me? Jesus is here too.
“This is why life is neither a tragedy nor a comedy but a tragi-comedy. If we do not both laugh and cry at life, we do not understand it….People are never simple. They are good-and-evil, happy-and-wretched. We are also flesh-and-spirit. God is not simple either. He is one-and-three, person-and-nature, just-and-merciful, eternal-and-dynamic, transcendent-and-immanent. Only abstractions are simple. The only language with no ambiguity and no poetry is mathematics. That’s why it’s the only language that computers can ‘understand’: it doesn’t require understanding at all.”Peter Kreeft, Christianity for Modern Pagans, 51-52.