“Undecidability leaves open a space for possibility in the ‘perhaps’ moment of not-quite-despair…Radical indeterminancy might find itself in a position to recognize when hope comes from that moment of impossible possibility.” –Margaret Adam, Our Only Hope
A Word of Hope
Which leads to enriching hope and which so often harms us? Complexification unto uncertainty or absolutism unto certainty? I recently heard a description I had never heard before: from Hitler’s holocaust to Dylan Roof and ISIS, absolutism and not uncertainty always abounds in the culprit. Yet many of us, myself included, are frightened of complexification and uncertainty. We often seem to have a sense that certainty is what keeps us safe and that “completely knowing” is what we in fact must attain. But perhaps “completely knowing” is what binds us.
I invite you to consider with me: what are the effects of a way of knowing characterized by certainty and of a way of knowing characterized by an ongoing openness to what more there may be? Let’s first consider the macro-scale: can you even begin to imagine Hitler or Dylan Roof asking about their own beliefs, “But how might my view be too simple? What might I be missing? What needs of mine have given birth to this understanding?” It’s hard for me to picture complexification on the tongue of these who committed such terrible crimes.
Even in the realm of our personal mental and emotional wellbeing, absolutism and not complexification seems often to be a source of harm. Each of us is different, but what kinds of questions do you hear from a person wrought with anxiety, stress, shame, or despair? “There is no way out.” “The world will fall apart if I don’t do this right.” “I’m just so worthless.” “It’s all my fault.” “I can’t imagine how things could get better.” “They’re all looking at me.” In many of my most potent struggles, these are the kind of feelings I’ve had. Absolutism has come to reign, leaving no space for any question.
Could it be that a mind free to always consider the more that may be is the mind free to hope? Could it be that the mind comfortable with saying they have more to learn about everything is the mind that always makes space for hope and love? Is there any area of your life or a person in your life where a more complex understanding could be helpful? What would we be like if we interrupted our clarity with open questions? What would the world be like if we interrupted the clarity of others with gentle questions? Spirit of complexification, come to us.
God of wonder, of the infinitesimal and the infinite, may we feel your nearness right now. Help us let go of certainty where it cripples our capacity to hope and love. May we be filled with questions that open us up, that give us expectation for all we still have yet to learn, discover, love, or find beautiful. From our families to our God, in all realms of life, may we always know there’s more we have yet to learn. I cherish you Beautiful One. -Amen
Resound Grief Ministry Facilitator