The Inherent Hope of Uncertainty

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Like many in the South, I grew up thinking that faith required conviction, and that uncertainty, or doubt, was what we experienced in moments of duress or weakness.

Like many here and everywhere, the older I get, the more I realize that I (and everyone else, particularly those with the most unyielding beliefs – about religion, politics, how we ought to live, whose football coach is the biggest cheater, whether Coca Cola or Miracle Whip makes a more moist chocolate cake – you name it) am utterly clueless.

I will be 37 next month. My daughter is 12, and every year she can remember, one of the teachers in her public school has asked the class to raise their hand as she reads off a list of Christian denominations. Because teachers when I was growing up did exactly the same thing during history units about “religious diversity” or the Reformation or the Puritans, I believe this is for the most part innocent if not completely ignorant, disrespectful and borderline unconstitutional.

And when she tells me she raises her hand for a different “random” denomination each year because she doesn’t want to feel left out or – worse, be called out – my heart aches because I know exactly what it was like to feel “othered” because, unlike the kids who were unquestionably BAPTIST! or CHURCH OF CHRIST! or raise-your-hand-if-you-are-CATHOLIC!, I went to a tiny Lutheran church where I constantly questioned and even fought against most everything we were taught. Continue reading

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All The Other Things I Am

I was recently divorced and figuring out how to date, and not doing either of those things well. I was no one’s wife. No one’s girlfriend. Someone’s so-so Friday evening. I made a list of all the other things I am.

I am Lily’s mom. Jim and Kathy’s daughter. Andy’s ex-wife, yes, but also his friend.

I was wrapped up in my head and had a hard time communicating anything other than “I’m sad. I’m lonely. I’m small.” After a while, writers block ruined those topics, too. I put writing aside and did all the other things I love.

I ran. I biked. I gardened. I read. I spent incredible times with wonderful friends.

With one such friend, I lost my temper and lashed out unfairly. I was defensive and reactionary.

Alas, I also was passionate. Apologetic. Forgiving and – guess what – forgiven.

A change at work left me scared and uncertain. I heard from many people who reassured me. They said:

You will rock this. You are strong. You are fabulous at whatever you do. I am your fan.

All the times I flounder at the one thing,
I try my damnedest to remember all the things.

I am optimistic. I am grateful. I am loved. I am me.