Tag Archives: learning

I love NOT Knowing…Do you?

I love not knowing.

Tonight at Bible study we talked about Sarah and Hagar and realized we had way more questions than we did answers and by the end we had come to realize that each statement ended with “but we just don’t know.” We can speculate, we can make educated guesses, we can provide evidence as support, but what we can’t do is know. And I love that. I thrive off it. I use it as an invitation to “suck the marrow out of life” (thanks for that tidbit Thoreau).

Because not knowing is a springboard to discovery and learning.

Nerd alert?

Well, maybe, but “I am what I am and that’s all that I am” (Props to Popeye for that one) and I won’t apologize for it. People are so afraid of not knowing things, but I think it’s beautiful and humbling. So why are people afraid of not knowing?

  • Not Knowing is Scary: when you don’t know the outcome to something, it can be terrifying. How did I do on that test? Will I have enough credits to graduate? Will my boyfriend’s parents like me? All of these unknowns can be terrifying, but there is a certain kind of beauty in them as well. Don’t get me wrong, I want to know the answers, which is exactly why I LIKE not knowing, because then I have a PURPOSE, something for which to search, to KNOW to experience.
  • Not Knowing is Intimidating: “What do you mean you don’t know?” Not knowing connotes stupidity, ignorance…but that’s not what it really means. Not knowing isn’t the same as ignorance; not knowing is in a perpetual state of ‘yet’. It’s an invitation to knowledge, not a label of ignorance that we should embrace.
  • Not Knowing is ineffable: We can’t describe the sensations that not knowing gives us—it’s upsetting, it’s frustrating, it’s freeing, but ultimately it’s what makes us human.

So I like not knowing, because it means I still have something left to know. As the Doctor himself says, “I don’t know…But that’s good, the day I know everything I might as well stop.”

And I’m certainly not ready to stop yet. Because who am I—who are we all? Might as well quote the Doctor here too…”The stuff of legend.”

People vs. Characters

In teaching Of Mice and Men this week, I came to the startling realization that I have a crush on Slim. Yes, Slim. Why Slim, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple, really. I love a real man. As far as fictional characters go, Slim as about as manly as it gets, and though he is idealized in a lot of ways, he is also very real.

Slim isn’t the only character I’ve gotten attached to over the years. There have been many. Fitzwilliam Darcy (what woman hasn’t fallen in love with this terrifically flawed ideal?),  Theodore ‘Laurie’ (Teddy) Laurence (I was devastated when Jo said no; though it was really the only answer she could give—I still felt it deep), Tom Shaw, among a myriad of others. And what is about these characters that attract my admiration?

Loyalty. In a world where people flit from idea to idea, object to object, relationship to relationship—loyalty has become old fashioned. Call me an Old Fashioned girl, but I find loyalty to be a honorable quality that few people can truly define, but most men in my “literary crush” repertoire possess. We need more people in the world who feel a deep sense of loyalty not only in relationships but to other aspect of life as well. Because, after all, if you can’t be loyal to something or someone, what purpose do you live for?

As an avid reader, I’m often invested in characters on levels which are borderline unhealthy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grounded in reality, which is probably why I’m still single. I realize that no matter how much I want them to, the men I date don’t stand a chance when compared to my ideal built up in years of reading and building a personal character study. And maybe that’s unfair, but it’s out there and like it or not, it’s a real part of who I am.

So what do I do with this realization? Do I stop reading? No, I don’t think so. I think it’s actually becoming more of a challenge for me. Instead of focusing on how people (myself included) do or do not meet my qualifications for the ideal, I wonder if I can’t start treating them as characters in my own story.  If I start viewing people as terrific, albeit flawed characters, maybe I can begin to judge less and accept more. That is, after all, what I should be doing all along.

Art mimics life; life mimics art—it’s all entwined.

So here are my questions for you:

Can we see people as characters, or will they always just be people? Is there even a real difference?

Who are the people of your literary dreams that cause you to ponder, wonder, and question the world?

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SE CCA building in Winston Salem