Tuesday, June 2, 2015

In the Dark

We humans don't like mystery.  Maybe we like "a" mystery, because then we get to figure it out. What is more exciting than a scientific discovery that explains something of the unknown? Or a medical breakthrough that will stop a disease forever?  But to admit we don't know, that we will just have to be content with not knowing- that is not our nature.
The big questions that have plagued us for eons still elude us. Why are we here? Why do people suffer? Where is the compassionate creator of the cosmos when children die in the rubble of an earthquake or families are washed away in flood waters. What is truth? What is beauty? What is the good life, and how do we live it? (Though often repeated, still pertinent to me.)
We have heard the postulations of philosophers and theosophers, theologians and scientists. And after all the words have been written and read, believed or discarded, we are left with a mystery. We are left with the darkness that sits on the part of our world that we can't explain.
I loved the sermon that Caroline Albert-Donovan preached last Sunday about Jesus waiting in the dark for Nicodemus. When I imagine how dark the night was in Jesus' time, how it was filled with dangers of all kinds, it is a very different night from our own that is lit by jillions of wattage in an attempt to roll back the darkness. But we have our own darkness of ignorance, every bit as frightening. The idea that someone who knows me waits in the dark to tell me the answers is very comforting.
Now that I am 61, I realize that my most common answer to questions is, "I don't know." And it is true. Some ideas that I have taken as truth for most of my life are showing wear and tear, complete with holes. Now that I am 61, I am very aware that an honest not-knowing trumps pat answers. I don't like it. I never like not knowing. Maybe that is part of my human desire to control the world around me. To admit ignorance is to cede control. But that is the funny part. I never was in control of the world around me to begin with.
So, I'm working on surrendering the need to appear as if I know it all. It should be a relief. Maybe it will be as I practice it more and more. Maybe I will come to love the dark. I should, because my three options are to pretend it isn't dark, to know it is dark and fear it, or to see it for the darkness it is and trust that I am not alone in it. To trust that, ultimately, all will be known, and all will be well. For now, I'm still working on sitting with it. In the dark.

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