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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Week of May 13, 2018

Uncertainty is the rule, not the exception. My journey, though only a midlife one thus far, keeps emphasizing that point.
And there seems to be a movement away from some point on a spectrum. Maybe that point is recognized by early childhood development theories. I don't know. But it's a point representing, it seems, a certain constitution of the mind where the world is a much simpler place and where the way from here to there is much more direct. Experience says otherwise, however; and the more of it we accumulate, the more away from that initial point we find ourselves. We pass over and land on points where uncertainty saturates our thinking.

Of course, I'm not advocating the thought that everyone moves the same or lands on the same point. I would even argue that we battle our landings from time to time and may even push back against experience, either trying to fix ourselves on a certain point or even pushing ourselves backwards to another point.

But here I should be cautious. Who's to say that one direction on the spectrum is any better than another. If experience has taught me anything thus far it's that the idea of progress may be the greatest of uncertainties. Not to get political, but our current administration branded itself on making America great again. I love everything about the first three words of this statement. "Make" builds optimism and purports a certain continued focus on achieving new benchmarks in technology and research, insinuating a sense of putting resources in play toward growth in every way. "America" stirs within us a sense of intent and a philosophy of hope as a "city on the hill" in this world to light the way of possibility for all humankind with reason as the pinnacle. "Great" is a deserved status once our making and our freedom results in the good of all people. Yet the word "again" threatens to burn down the whole vision. "Again" is a loaded term meaning different things to different people.

And this brings us back to uncertainty. I tend to believe the statement that one can never go home again. Sure, we can float back and forth on that spectrum of certain-to-uncertain. Yet, in some way, it's true what they say: "Wherever you go, there you are." But "you" are always changing. "Again" is a false positive. "You" may get to "again" again, but "you" have already changed because of "your" accumulated experience; and "you" will continue to do so.

So we're left with this: the only thing certain for you is uncertainty. Paul seemed to think, in 2 Corinthians 12.7-10, this weakness (assuming here "weakness" is uncertainty) is the very thing that makes us powerful (assuming here "power" is certainty). My journey forward, I'm learning, is to continually embrace uncertainty. What if our sense of certainty could be right here...where we already are whenever and wherever we are?

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