the safety of not knowing

 “The sounds of the city, sifting through trees, settle like dust on the shoulders of Old Friends.” ~ Simon & Garfunkel

Here’s what I know:  As you get older, if you get wiser,  you will realize that you know less than ever.   I was chatting about this over mimosas this morning with one of my newer “old” friends.   (Who btw said she loves to read my blog so let me send a big shout-out to Cracker Mouth.)

We reminisced about how childhood provided the false hope that grownups, pretty much, had it all figured out.  And the corresponding belief that we, one day, would be grownups with clarity too.  Children need to believe this in order to risk the vertical climb into adulthood.  Without this false belief, children would crumble under the weight of uncertainty.

I dont remember having that belief fully.  Even as young as four, I knew my parents had experienced mistakes, false starts, and unexpected twists in their terrain.  I didnt trust their decisions or opinions.  But I did trust them to keep me safe.  And they did, despite my challenges to their attempts. 

My twenties were a confused blur of absolute certainty.  My thirties taught me about the need to let go of certainty.  Now, at forty-one, I view certainty as an impossibility.   But in a comforting way – like the funny friend in school who was always getting into trouble for the sake of a laugh.  The one you knew was really sad inside. 

Over my tofu-scramble and mimosas this morning, however, one thing became clear. The reason I can find comfort in my lack of certainty now is because there is a beautiful, strong, blossom-covered vine embracing me and connecting me to the earth.  Keeping me safe from the fear of escaping gravity and floating into the void of uncertainty.  

I have been generously blessed with old friends who knew me then, knew me when, and know me now.  If I feel myself drifting, they simply pull me back, into their arms and the safety of not knowing.

with gratitude,

jrb

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