Once upon a time, I thought I knew it all. I was in my 30s, in graduate school and feeling that all the pieces were in place. There was a euphoria in me that I wanted to share with others – about life, God and possibilities. My dreams were tangible and the world I knew was practically Eden.
I miss those days of my “arrested adolescence.”
Somewhere along the way I escaped that never-never land and began to grow up. Life became difficult and much of what I knew morphed into compelling question marks. All those pieces once in place seemed a pile of rubble and my dreams wrestled with a reality I found I could not tame. I did not panic with the change but began working overtime on my self, the meaning of life and its ultimate destination. Still, I searched for the certainty I had known back when.
It is as if, in that Eden place I, like Adam and Eve, was seduced by the Tree of Knowledge. I bit into something that changed everything – a craving to know it all. I quickly discovered the world was so much wider than that garden and that I wore a humanness I needed to name and own. But I sorely missed the certainty I had lost.
It has taken me a lifetime to learn there is a peace in embracing not-knowing. I am not saying that “ignorance is bliss,” nor have I stifled my ultimate questions since I remain as restless as ever living into them. But I have come to accept there is no knowing their answers or what awaits on the other side of time. This is far from surrendering or abandoning the quest. But realizing that the attainment of the ultimate answers is beyond my human capabilities has obliterated a battleground in my soul.
Perhaps that particular Tree of Knowledge was off-limits for a reason. Who’s to say? All I know is that embracing my inability to know whatever I can never know has given me a different kind of energy that feels a bit like my days in the Garden. The “Tree” is what it is; still, the world and this life are filled with wonders enough – and wonderings – to keep me curious and searching.