I always liked the first line of this hymn, and it sort of describes the topic of this post: Uncertainty. As we wander through the forest of our lives there’s a lot to wonder about…like, for instance, what is going to happen next? “What next?” as my mom used to ask so often.
I know a lot of people who are struggling with uncertainty right now, including myself. Is my memoir really going to be published? (Rumor has it that it is!) Other friends and family members have questions, too: When will I get a diagnosis? Will I get into a doctoral program? What will I do after college? Where is the money coming from to pay for that training? What’s for dinner? Etcetera….
It’s a fact of life, this wandering, wondering, and uncertainty. Living in the past is a no-no, of course, but living in a state of perpetual angst over what will happen in the future is equally undesirable (and unnerving). And yet, it’s hard not to wonder what will come next.
I’ve found that the only way to get around this problem is to trust and believe. I’m not talking about religion necessarily, though if that works for you, more power to you. I’m just talking about giving yourself a pass to trust and believe that whatever it is you’re worrying and wondering about in terms of the future is going to work out somehow. Without that sense of trust, the future can be a very scary void.
And the truth of the matter is, if we knew the answers to all of our questions life would be pretty dull (or possibly even terrifying!). Uncertainty and not knowing is actually a gift; it opens us to possibility, it gives us the chance to dream, it makes it okay to fantasize and hope. It lets us be surprised or astounded.
Back in the day, when I gave birth to my first son, no one offered to let me know his gender (by my second two babies, ultrasounds were common, and yet I opted to find out in the labor room instead of getting the heads up to buy blue in advance). Why? Because I liked the uncertainty. And though it can be frustrating, unsettling, and downright annoying not to know, sometimes I think it’s better that we don’t.
Besides, the present becomes the future in the blink of an eye; the questions are answered, and more questions arise. The only thing that’s really certain is uncertainty itself. So, if things seem to be “up in the air” right now, try to relax and enjoy the clouds!