Watching My Certainty Fall Apart (Again)

Overwhelmed tonight, I wanted to melt into a puddle of liquid anything and then simply dissolve.

That’s how I’m feeling as the election comes now within days.

I watch as the polls tell us it will be an easy win.  Then a headline changes the mood and we are back to a race that reminds me of a few nights ago.  That epic 8th, 9th and  10th inning of the World Series.

Shut your eyes, cross your fingers, say a few prayers and hope things go your way.

Simply put, we may have an opinion, we may have a voice, we may have a strong and true conviction.  But right now, we have no control of anyone else but ourselves.

As it all raced through my mind this evening, it came sloppily together like this.   How Christians feel about their faith is how many feel about their political candidate.   So whatever it is that you believe or teach or go door to door about,  it’s YOUR passion, not mine.

Just as you are tired of the election and want it to go away, I feel the same way about your religion.    It makes sense to you and you are firm in what you believe.   I used to be that way too.   That’s until I realized that most people feel that same way, and they believe all sorts of things.

I sound cynical tonight.   I am.

Let’s move on.

I’ve decided to delete my Facebook blog page.   Facebook thought I may want to change my mind so they’ve made me wait.   But my waiting period is almost over.    These last several posts and words are all  things that have meant so much to me.   I put them out there and they simply disappeared into the abyss while I watched myself reaching for your approval, or understanding, or maybe just appreciation.  Then, even when I get those things, I don’t find myself satisfied or at peace.   I know that isn’t why I started writing and I have realized that it’s not the way I should be going.   It takes all the relief out of my words and immediately puts them back into a place of wanting.   I’ve circled back to the start.

I’ll write here.   Maybe I’ll share.   I just don’t want it to matter in the end.

I’ve heard that politics in the US is simply drinking your preferred flavor of Kool Aid.   That’s what religion has become for me as well.

I was listening to On Being today and Krista Tippett was interviewing Dr. Eboo Patel.   He said something that makes more sense to me than anything else in this time of division and tension.  It applies to religion, politics and those things we try to separate from each other.  (It’s all the same, let’s stop convincing ourselves we can keep one from another)  He quoted William Raspberry and brought it together for me in a new and clear way.   While my reaction only a time ago would be that weakness would lead us to this openway of living, I’m wondering if I’ve been totally wrong about this.   You’d think I ‘d realize by now that certainty never works, but no.    It always has to fall apart first.


Here it is.

DR. PATEL: William Raspberry writes a column in which he says, “The smartest people I know secretly believe both sides of the issue.” And that was so striking to me. Because I was — the way I viewed the world at that point was, “I’m the smart one. You all are the dumb ones. My job is to figure out how to make you smart.” And the definition of “smart” was you thought like me.

MS. TIPPETT: Or how to make you see things my way, which is smart.

DR. PATEL: Yeah, exactly, right? And this notion of William Raspberry, who was, generally speaking, a progressive columnist was like — look, the smartest people I know choose the pro-life side and understand that there’s something else at stake. The smartest people I know are against the death penalty and understand that people who might be in favor aren’t crazy, that there’s a set of values, something at stake there.

I’m gonna land there for now.   This idea that believing both sides will bring me the wisdom I need to get through the next few days, weeks, months and years.  Not giving up who I am or what I value, but simply understanding that whatever that is, it’s not the beginning or the end.

Oh Lisa, it’s so much bigger than you.   How do you forget that so easily?

I’m gonna reach for all the things I can’t understand and if they come to me, I’ll hold them loosely.   And then,  I’m going to do the same with the things that I think I do understand.

Closing my eyes, I feel those things I’ve been holding so tightly slip away.

Then in that darkness I realize, they were never mine to begin with.

Deep breath and release.




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