Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition is one of my favorite words. It ranks in my mind alongside onomatopoeia, hyperbole, and synecdoche both in multi-syllabic rhythm and definitional genius! Juxtaposition is the perfect term for certain situations. It is a noun meaning “an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.” 

Two things that shouldn’t exist alongside each other suddenly thrown together. It can have quite the effect. I experienced this in a fun way a few weeks ago while I was bowling in the library.

Yes, that’s not a typo.

I went bowling in the theological library. My roommate, who works there, set up a game night for the students and their families. It was hilarious to me to juxtapose the expectation of quietness and reserve of the library with the noise and activity of bowling. I had a grand time. And not just because the shelves acted like bumpers nearly guaranteeing a strike every time!

library bowling

library bowling

library bowling

It got me thinking about other contradictions which are pushed together in my own heart. I am a jumble of contradictory emotions and experiences. I both pride myself on being introspective and high on self-knowledge, but am also blindsided by things about myself that I’ve somehow missed for decades. I am a curious mixture of joy and sadness, hope and fear, knowledge and ignorance, anxiety and adventure. I do not understand how all of these feelings can coexist in one person. And that is the adventure of life. It is full of peculiar turns and extraordinary mash-ups, just as unexpected as bowling in a library.

What juxtapositions have you experienced lately?

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