Salted caramel ice cream. Sweet and sour chicken. Balsamic strawberries. Our palates seem to like those opposing flavors of sugary and sharp. I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “bittersweet” lately. To me it means happy with a twinge of sadness.
It’s a season of change right now. There are graduations taking place where students are leaving behind a place where they grew and hopefully made some good memories. There is the slight pain of goodbye mixed with the excitement of a new start and new journey. Bittersweet.
It’s also the time of year when people tend to move. Leaving behind a home filled with a history of lazy evenings, loud family gatherings, and meaningful conversations. Moving on to a new home with a fresh feel and a chance to improve on the things that didn’t quite fit in the old home. Bittersweet.
People leave our lives and new ones enter. The new ones can’t replace the ones we loved who left, but the enjoyment of getting to know someone distracts us from the longing we have for those who departed. Life circumstances change and we may walk through both the bitterness of that change as well as a sweetness in it. Ultimately, we choose which aspect of the change we will immerse ourselves in.
Part of the good around me is this element of bittersweet. The mixture of the two. If life were all sweet, we probably wouldn’t grow. We would likely float from one day to the next without a level of depth that we develop as a result of difficulties. We would not have those moments where we must choose to appreciate the sweet while it is present. If life were all bitter, there would be nothing to look forward to and we would be drained of life. We need that reprieve of sweet to restore our perspective. I’ll follow the example of my taste buds and recognize the beauty in the mix of sugary and savory.