What are the things you know for sure?

change

What is it that we can hold fast and know for sure? So much changes. Earth isn’t flat and isn’t the center of the universe although generations came and went believing that to be true. Gravity kept the planets in orbit and people from floating off long before anyone noticed and named it. Atoms existed before anyone discovered they could be split.

What is it that may be discovered in the future that can make sense of the way we act and feel now? Is there a key to explaining human behavior? A force, perhaps, that pulls people apart despite a deep desire to connect? What if there is another sense more important than the five we rely on now?

One thing good about change is it keeps you humble. Or should. Knowing that what we know is a minuscule speck in the ocean of all that can be known helps us stay open and curious. Where would the adventure be if we ever knew it all anyway?

Wonder.

wonder

How lovely it is to stand still in the enormity of your questions. To realize that what you know is minuscule in relation to all there is to know. To let your curious mind take you on a journey of discovery. How liberating it is to lay down the facade of expertise and acknowledge that, in this world, we are all students.

Not knowing is part of knowing.

explain

There are sure a lot of people who have all the answers and are only too happy to explain the world to you at length. Puffed up chests, throats clearing, outstretched fingers to point you to the truth as only they can best explain it to you.

But do they have all the answers, really? Isn’t there much about which we must proceed on faith rather than knowledge?

What if God himself were to frame the questions? Then how would these know-it alls fare?

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. (Job 38) He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 Have you ever given orders to the morning,
    or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
    its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
    and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
    Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know all this.

19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
    And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
    Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
    You have lived so many years!

 

Ah, not so smug now, are they, those knowers-of-everything? What anyone knows is but a speck in the vastness of all there is to know.

Maybe a bit of humility is in order.