Life’s Two Sides


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Seeing that 2022 is still young, I can be forgiven  for looking at it in its newness and thinking thoughts  that a new beginning often elicits. The  inherited challenges from the old year  seem  oblivious to our desire for their abatement; it’s  as if they’ve come to stay. However, if we  think of the dual nature of experience and match our attitude to its reality,  we should be able  to make peace with the hard places we will encounter this year  and  achieve a satisfying level of peace and joy in our lives. I’m sure you’re familiar with the truism, there are two sides to every story; now let’s flip this idea in our favor by recognizing that there are two sides to life. This means that the things that happen in our day-to-day experience and  even the abstract concepts and ideas we deal with have a duality to them.

Long ago Solomon saw this two-sidedness of things and proclaimed that there’s “a time for everyting under the sun.” He had a  neat parallelism that came out of experience and observation, among them  “a  time to be born and a time to die,” and   “a time to mourn and a time to dance.” This duality, he seems to be saying,  is all a part of the rhythm of life—heat and cold, light and dark, smooth and rough. So when life becomes shabby and  unkempt, even ugly,  we can remember that it has its  beautiful other side where the rips and cracks and notches are smoothed over.  Oftentimes,  we  rush down  our accustomed path, seeing only one side of life. In this  still-young year,  we have time to adjust our thinking to embrace the satisfying outlook  that life has a   rhythmic, dual pattern.

Some people might see Pollyana lurking  behind this kind of reasoning,  but have you ever looked  incredulously at the reaction of people who stand in the midst  of the rubble left by a tornado—such as the one that occurred several weeks ago in Kentucky— and heard them say: “Well, we have our life. We can replace things, but we can’t replace people”?  It may be that  these are people of faith, but that kind of attitude also shows that they are realists who  understand life and can detect its duality. There is good on the flipside of the  bad, they’re telling us.

You may remember a song that was very popular in the seventies (I know, you don’t go that far back, but I sang it with abandon): “Raindrops keep falling on my head/but that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red/Crying’s not for me.”  Some people complain and lay blame—even “charge God foolishly” (Job1:22)— instead of realizing the duality  and matching their attitude to it. When there’s sunshine, enjoy it and be glad. When there’s rain,  recognize it and plan how to stay dry–maybe even buy a big umbrella.  A couple lines from a  well-known gospel song make my point succinctly: “I thank God for the mountains/And I thank Him for the valleys.”  If you know this song,  go ahead and sing it all the way through and savor its spot-on assertion  about  how we can see life’s duality and thrive.  And think about  what Job said to his discouraged wife when she told him to “curse God and die” because a series of shocking events had turned their lives upside-down and left the family destitute: “Shall we indeed  accept  good  from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10). Job could talk like that because he was living with his eyes wide open to the reality of life’s two-sidedness.  I read an anonymous quotation recently that says, “It never hurts your eyesight to look on the bright side of life.” We are wonderfully compensated when we see beyond  the dark.

This year will be good to us if we live each day with the understanding that life has a dual nature and match our attitude to that reality.



Summer Illustration

“Everyone  wants to live really long, but nobody wants to grow old.”
Dr. Erwin Lutzer



  • Fartema

    Hi Judith, thank you for the wonderful words of encouragement for this 2022 journey. I know that trials will come to test my Faith. In every trial, when it seems that I’m alone, I have to remember God’s promise, “I will never leave you.”
    One of my younger brothers (Lawrence Edward Bray, early 60’s) is on a local hospital. The covid virus has a tight ‘grip’ on his life. Pray with me that God will give him the best medical care while he is in isolation, and he stay focused on God for a full recovery. He has a strong faith foundation. May God grant him an opportunity to serve him some more.
    He was a big part of my support system when I went through the valley of grief.

    Thank you.

    • Judith Nembhard

      Hi Fartema,
      The testing time comes, doesn’t it, but it is just for a while. Joy comes in the morning. And when we have the Savior with us, the morning is so much better. Thanks for sharing your comment that will help others. JN

  • Ramona

    Beautiful article, Judith! I find it comforting to be reminded of reality, and that there are two sides to life. I will keep that in mind, and hopefully will be less shocked and dismayed when the difficult side of life shows up. Wishing you a Happy 2022!

    • Judith Nembhard

      Ramona, I love your comment. We are humans, and we want life to be just right, but when it’s not, we have to look over the horizon and see the light. Thanks for a comment that will help others. Blesings for a great year. JN