Living with Uncertainty

There is a quote, I believe from an Episcopal confession of sin,  that says “We are self-deceived and strangers to the truth.”

I like to be certain.
It comforts me.
Numbs me
to  ever-changing realities.
But we all seek certainty at times
because the world is so large
people are so unpredictable
politics are so complex.
At their best
religions wrestle with questions
whose answers are beyond our imagining.
At their worst,
they offer false and concrete

Most of the time,
most of us,
walk in the world content
with the ‘knowing’ we have
however incomplete
however unchallenged
We ground ourselves
in the rhythms of
waking and sleeping
working and playing
connecting and disconnecting.
Until the times
when our unknowing
overwhelms us
and we realize
that we are strangers to the truth
and maybe even
self deceived.

Climate change.
Political turmoil
in a land that once felt knowable.
The fall of nations to terror,
the subjugation of women
through sexual violence
the rise of authoritarianism,
rampant disease,
economic uncertainty.

Confronted with our ignorance,
that what once we thought
may no longer be true,
that what once we believed
has shown itself false,
we combat our fear,
by clinging
to what we think we know
because certainty
is our last refuge.

So let us pursue
something other than
the numbness of ‘certainty’.
The challenges of our time offer
both despair
and hope.
Death and life.
When we are confronted
by ambiguity
let us choose hope
and let us choose life.
Not because we know
any damn thing
but because
we are willing to risk trust.

This is where
faith and certainty collide.
Choose the path of trust
not because we are convinced
of some immutable truth
but because we choose
knowledge beyond facts
relationship beyond comprehension
and the wild goodness of the Sacred.

The writer of the book of Deuteronomy said,  “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” (30:19)


5 thoughts on “Living with Uncertainty

  1. Hey Connie
    I copied this into my Notes and Quotes file…so you are there along with Richard Rohr, Jane Hirschfield, Teilard de Chardin. LOL You are in good company and I thank you for..your love, your generosity, your wisdom and putting into words exactly what I am feeling.

  2. You’ve put into words what I’ve been feeling for so long. Certainty is a hopeless seduction and I know this. But sometimes I envy those who possess certainty about, well, anything. Ask a question – get an answer. Easy peasy. But I know better, and I cannot go back to sleep. Sleep is death. But now and then, the temptation is strong…

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