The Plan, Answers and Confronting Uncertainty
The past two weeks or so have been rough in a way that’s brought death way closer than it’s ever been, forcing me to think about things in a way that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve had some beautiful, truly touching experiences as people have reached out, seeing the immeasurable capacity for humans to mourn with those that mourn and to comfort those that stand in need of comfort. In the midst of all this, I’ve chatted with some friends late into the night about life, religion, and what the hell we’re doing in the middle of it all. These events and conversations have caused me to wonder, “what if I’m wrong?”
I’m deeply Mormon, but you know, one of those fringey, unorthodox Mormons. I feel like people act as though we have all the answers. We know where we came from, why we’re here, and where we’re going. We know that there’s a reason for EVERYTHING. We know that all of this mess that is mortality is for our good. All of it. We know that God speaks to man today. We know that things are the way they are because God made it so.
Except I don’t. I don’t know.
I believe that some part of me existed before and continues to exist after this mortal shell withers and dies. I believe that. I believe that with God things can be made to work for my good. I believe that God communicates with people today. I believe that some things are going to change. I believe that we can be more inclusive and loving and Christlike. I believe that I can do more. I believe that we don’t know it all. I believe that we have yet much to learn. I believe that a lot of the stuff that gets passed along is poppycock.
Yet, what if I’m wrong? What if men really need the priesthood because they suck more than women and women are just generally better, more spiritual people? What if God literally hand-picked all the horrors and atrocities that happen to people? What if God wanted my cousin to die in that car crash? What if God and I had a little pow-wow before I was born with some blueprint that is watched over by a mysterious Bureau and kept under lock and key that lays out exactly what I need to do while chilling here on good ol’ planet Earth? What if all the policies are pure doctrine from on high? What if God really does care about how frequently I shave and how tight my pants are?
I don’t know.
I don’t pretend to have all (or really any) of the answers. I don’t know for certain that I’m right and others are wrong. All I know is what I’ve felt. The divine love and goodness that has come to me in times of sorrow and pain. In times of service for others. Unannounced and out of the blue. That feeling, that pure, warm, comforting love keeps me Mormon. I feel it still. I know that it’s something that I want to keep feeling, that I want close, that I don’t know what to do without.
Following that feeling, that love, that divine spirit has led me to believe what I believe today. If I’m wrong, I don’t know where that leaves me. I don’t know what I’ve felt or why it’s led me where it has. I don’t know what I have left. If that’s not God, I don’t know what is or where it is.
I still don’t know.
I think Paul provides some wisdom:
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
I definitely identify with seeing through a glass, darkly. So darkly. Like pitch darkly. Like blackhole darkly. I feel better believing that maybe it’s supposed to be this way. Maybe we’re supposed to wonder what’s right and what’s wrong. To question where truth is. To rely on something outside ourselves to make it. To stumble and fall, but keep moving. To find the glimmers of goodness and chase them down. To hold those around us and let them lean in when they can’t keep moving.
Perhaps I’m not right. But maybe I’m not wrong either. Maybe its together that truth is found. Maybe we all need each other. Maybe what I believe doesn’t really matter as much as what I do. Maybe we just need to come together.
I still don’t know. I haven’t found the answers, but I’m ok with that. I’m ok with not knowing. I’m ok with missing pieces. I’m ok with waiting for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I’m ok with not being right.
Good people that I love and trust and respect disagree with me on quite a few things. I don’t know how to reconcile what they truly believe deep within with all the things I believe. I don’t know how they got where they did or why I ended up somewhere else. I don’t know much (if that wasn’t abundantly clear). I don’t want these good people to be wrong. I mean, I do. But I don’t want them to feel that. I don’t want them to lose the shared goodness that we have and the holiness that I’ve seen.
I don’t know how everything will shake out post-mortality. I don’t know where I’ll be or who will be with me. I don’t know if things will suddenly be clear, as if the rain is gone. I don’t know what I’ll do if I’m wrong.
But for now. I’ll hold on. I’ll endure. I’ll strain to see through that damn glass, darkly. And I’ll hope I’m not wrong.