Recently a little student in one of my art classes asked me what the difference is between blue and purple. My answer was : a single drop of red. Blue is a primary colour, a pure colour. It cannot be made by mixing two colours, it is what it is. The colour red, of course is also a primary colour. However, when one tiny drop of red is added to blue, it is no longer pure. Blue plus any amount of red becomes purple even though the drop might be so small that we cannot see the effect with our naked eye.
Of course, being the over-thinker that I am, my thoughts carried me further along this path. I thought about love and hate. Both of these are strong emotions and they are seemingly far apart. Yet they are as close as the sides of a coin. There is a very thin line between them. Many debates have been had over what exactly that thin line might be. I have come to the conclusion that it is simply a shift in direction, a change in my point of view. It is a tiny spot of red added to the mix. A girl falls passionately in love with a man. All she sees is how handsome he is, how accomplished he is and she hangs on his every word. A young man falls in love with a girl and suddenly his whole world revolves around her. Yet with time the pendulum turns, their viewpoint changes. Just a slight tilt and a drop of dislike enters the mix. A fissure starts to open.
And then there is life and death. What separates the two? A few mornings ago I found our new little kitten hanging onto life by a thin thread. She was not breathing and I could only detect the faintest heartbeat. Whatever episode she had had must have just occurred. I gave her CPR and miraculously she revived. A single breath separated her from death. One moment in time. I was awed by the enormity of that brevity in the vastness of eternity. In that moment of my desperation to help this tiny creature, begging her back to life, I was overcome by thoughts of parents standing at the beds of their children, spouses holding onto their loved ones hands and soldiers hopelessly calling to their friends to hold on, hold on! Lives in the balance, hanging on to that thin line between life and death. Most of us, most of the time, are completely oblivious to this delicate tether. We take life for granted. Time seems plentiful. So much so that we think nothing of wasting it on anger, grudges and insignificant issues. We are so quick to take offense and very slow to make amends. If we could for one moment just pause and ask ourselves if that quick, hurtful retort is worth it if we were never to have another chance to tell our loved ones or our friends that we love them? If we were never granted another minute to say sorry would winning an argument still hold so much satisfaction?
Regret is the most useless emotion, it comes at a heavy price and can never undo what caused it in the first place. That line between life and death is as fragile as the chrysalis of a butterfly, it is the thickness of a whispered breath. Life is to be treasured and it is to be lived, but be careful how you live it. We should never take it for granted, but we should live it in such a way that we leave behind beauty and joy.