Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care

It’s an interesting time of year. July feels like the middle of summer, even though it only just started. Students who finished high school or college are thinking about what it will be like for them now that their world is different. They are getting used to a job, or starting an apprenticeship, or considering what their new school experience will be like in the fall. We all are beginning to enjoy the warmer weather, and want to live in the moment. But, we also can’t help but try to plan for what’s ahead. Many times, though, we live outside of certainty. We aren’t really sure what will be happening next month, next season, next year.

Ambiguity can be really difficult. It can make us uneasy. It might lead to sleepless nights or anxious days. We want clear answers, a schedule to follow, a list of rules to stick to. But, maybe it’s OK to live in the land of uncertainty. The alternative can be clinging to what we see as a fixed truth, which can lead us to close our minds and our hearts to the experiences of others. William Bridges wrote in Managing Transitions about our capacity to live with the discomfort of ambiguity, that we should nurture this ability. 

We want answers to questions that we don’t have right now and that we may never actually receive. So, we learn to sit with that discomfort, without those answers. It’s not easy to live outside of knowing, but we may just be pleasantly surprised at how we can live without certainty. Really, we’ve been doing it all along! And our experiences of not knowing can make us better listeners to others struggling with the same frustration. Our empathy expands with our focus on the lives of others.

Sure, I’d like to live in the land of certainty. I’d like to know what’s coming next, that the future is secure. One thing I can be certain of is God’s love. The lives of the saints remind me of God’s love. The Holy Bible reminds me of God’s love. It is a constant I can count on, even when circumstances in my world are shaky. The hymnwriter tells us “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness.”

Blessed Angela: “If not now, then at some future time your work will bear fruit.”

Some content requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.