Whenever I feel righteous, I know I’m missing something. I know I’m overlooking the wrongness of my certainty. Not the wrongness of my point of view, but the wrongness of knowing that I cannot be wrong. Because I am. In some part; or from a different angle.
Whenever I feel the pull of certainty, I turn my head to the side and try to look at the issue somehow differently. Like my daughter looks at the world: when she watches TV, she swivels her head about 15 degrees off center. Most people look straight on at the television, but not her. We had her tested when she was a baby but they found nothing but a proclivity for doing so. I now wonder if she does this because of her traumatic birth, or the fact that she is the second child and was never allowed the seat right in front of the tv–that was held always by her just-older sister.
Those same two sisters are leading the worship service at church this a.m.–their topic is “Doubt.” This is familiar, well-worn territory for me: doubt. Some of us might even call it “home.” And this is why “certainty” feels foreign.
But there is a certainty in relief; when your body and your mind relax around a decision made and one sinks into it and says “it is done.” Doubt and certitude (a word I have trouble typing without my inner twelve-year-old making a Weiner joke inside my head), are no longer at odds and sleep comes easily and fully in ways it has not during the struggle between those two icons of human frailty.
Whenever I feel certain, I entertain doubt more readily and coax it back to me with questions. “Did I do the right thing? Are you sure? Who else has been harmed in the making of this choice and how can I make amends?”
A mess has been made in my life–of that I am certain. But I am overrun with relief at a choice I have made to distance myself from it for the time being. And that is quite freeing.