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The Importance of Contrast

The other day I walked out of my house into a cold, windy storm to check the mail. The rain droplets were exploding down on my head and splashing out in all directions. I didn’t even bother to put on a jacket (sorry, Mom!) as I knew I’d only be out there a few minutes.

After grabbing the mail, I realized I had to somehow keep it dry, so I shoved it all under my shirt and started running back to my house. I may have been laughing and squealing just a bit when I burst through the front door.

I was greeted by two things.

The first was warmth. I had a roof over my head and no rain splashing down on me anymore.

The second was the very quizzical look on my son’s face as he came down the stairs and put together what I had done.

He said, “Mother? What are you doing? Why did you go out in the rain to get the mail when it’s so cold, windy and rainy outside?”

I said, “Because I knew coming back inside would feel that much better.”

He continued to look at me like I’d lost my mind.

So I said, “It’s all about contrast, me boy! You sometimes forget how sweet it is to be inside a warm dry house unless you occasionally go out in the cold, wind and rain.”

We then had a very serious discussion about contrast. It’s about appreciating and being grateful for things we sometimes take for granted. It’s about fully understanding the difference between what we want and what we don’t yet have.

Sometimes you can’t appreciate freedom until you’ve stepped out of prison.

Sometimes you can’t appreciate human suffering until you’ve struggled with a life or death situation yourself.

Sometimes you can’t appreciate having a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your belly until you’ve had to struggle to find food, water and shelter just to live another day.

Sometimes you can’t truly appreciate life until you understand that one day yours will end, and that you must savor and relish every day you get on this Earth and sculpt it to your liking.

Some of the greatest heroes in history changed the world because of what they suffered, because they desperately wanted to create a world where others didn’t have to experience what they’d gone through.

So appreciate every comfort you have, every freedom. Appreciate every bit of love, warmth, and health that is yours. Other people would trade places with you in a second to have what you have.

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