One paradox to rule them all

Matthew Fitzgerald reflects on the paradoxes of life - and, in particular, the paradox at the heart of the Easter story.

Maybe it’s reaching the “milestone” of forty – it’s feeling more like a millstone at this point – but I’ve been noticing how life is full of paradoxes.

The more you read the less you retain. The more you learn, the less you realise you know. The older you get the less you remember. The more you work, the less money you have (just me?). You discover your favourite band, they break up (just me, again?). The more you exercise, the more conscious you grow of decay. The more you love, the more open you are to hurt.

Something evades us, universally, as humankind. We struggle to reconcile these paradoxes – from the trivial to the most profound. Our sense of the passing of time and increasing age only makes them more acute. I long for the DeLorean, a flux capacitor, and Doc Brown to whisk me “Back to the Future”. Maybe that way I could disentangle a few of my paradoxes.

Good Friday marks the crucifixion of Jesus the Galilean, a man and an event positively laden with paradox: wisdom in what seems like folly, power in weakness, victory through death, honour through shame, the limitless God taking on limitations, glory via forsakenness. The power of death being swallowed up by death on a Roman cross. The spectacle of the cross is arguably the paradox of paradoxes! One paradox to rule them all.

As I consider again the story of the author of life who somehow died, I’m reassured that my experiences of loss and breakdown are not the last word. That there’s an empty tomb in Jerusalem that whispers of a future where all paradoxes are reconciled, and life wins out.