Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

The Unknowns

How do we navigate The Unknown? Well, I have an idea how I currently deal with unknowns in my life, but how am I supposed to?

There’s something about being a child, the implicit nature of the powerlessness, the dependence on adults to live life, that makes unknowns a part of childhood. Is that why children are so trusting? They have no choice? How would they survive otherwise? There are terrible things that can break down that trust even in the youngest children. That’s part of the training we’re receiving in our foster adopt classes. As if I didn’t already know some of that. How that trust gets broken, and how it gets repaired. There are things we take for granted. Such as the plans we make for our lives. What we are doing this week. Tomorrow. And for a child that is removed from a home in crisis, that’s all ripped apart, even if it’s about keeping them safe. They are removed from everything they know. It’s having someone else hit the restart button for you. It’s having your life script taken from you, and not knowing what they’re handing you next. As a child.

And there’s my children, who are in a home being raised without threats to their safety and well being. They don’t actually know what they are doing next. But they have a reasonable expectation of what their life entails. Where home is. What food they eat. Who they see day to day. And they trust. Well, most of the time. There is that “I’m hungry right now and I can’t wait five minutes!” thing that happens every time they get into the car because I don’t bring snacks for a car trip to their friend’s house who lives the next town over. But there is a general sense of trust. They have to.

And why do I fail under the weight of unknowns? Because I am afraid. And sometimes I can’t put my finger on the source of fear, but I know I feel the fear. I am afraid before I have the questions formed, and I am afraid of the answers. So I search for a tangible problem, and I work it.

When will my mom walk without pain again? When will she be free to enjoy this time in her life? What family pressures will pop up next? Am I forgetting some crucial piece of paper for Enn’s kindergarten class? Where are my keys (I lost them five days ago)? Should I intervene with Zee’s speech issues by doing things at home? Or should I wait for his January appointment? Will they think he’s “just fine” even though it’s due to my intervention? When will we adopt? How old will she be? What will she be like? What will be going on with the birth family? When will we be ready for this? Will we be ready for this? And what on earth am I going to make for dinner?

I want to be comfortable with living with unknowns again. I used to be. Thirty years ago, right? I want to remember that unknowns are a reality, and that even when I don’t have pressing questions, unknowns remain. It’s a fact of life. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. It goes back to a saying in my family: Si no tiene solucion, porque te preocupas? Si tiene solucion, porque te preocupas? (If you don’t have a solution, why are you worried? If you have a solution, why are you worried?) So, I don’t have a lot of answers. Who does? Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Next month? Next year? I want to remember that I believe in God, who is involved in the details of my life. I want to remember that I can still be that kid who looks upward to see what’s next, and that even if I am not told, I can trust it’ll be OK. No matter what.

I wish I could get that trust weaved into my daily perspective. I think just writing about it is a step in that direction, and I pray about it, think about it, and I read specific things in sacred writings. I am reminded of how precious this resource is- having someone other than myself that is concerned about my life. Someone who provides meaning and reason and purpose for my life. I am grateful for that. I rely on that.

The truth is, if I was told the answers to all the questions I have… what would I do with that? Do I really want to know? Does anyone? Maybe it’s more wonderful and more frightening than I could ever know.

3 Replies to “The Unknowns”

  • OK, you know I’m not a churchgoing gal at this point in my life, but I have an image I like to conjure at times like these.

    It’s Jesus’s hands. They are really big, and really capable. And I just offload whatever it is into those hands. “Hey, Jesus, can you hold this?”

    And he always does! Thanks, dude. I’m glad you posted about these great unknowns. It’s a week until our nuchal fold. Maybe I can imagine Jesus being our ultrasound technician? No, that’s too complicated…

  • Yes!! I want all the answers. Now. No really I don’t know. I’m sort of starting to embrace the ride. The unknown, the twists and turns, the adaptations I need to make. If we had all the answers we would find something else to fret and worry and control about, so I dont’ think it really would help anything.

  • So true, worries about unknowns are infinite! Answers dont make them go away. I wish! And Jesus being the ultrasound technician.. that’s pretty funny!…

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