I was struggling to find inspiration from my usual sources last week… poems, emails from BrainPickings (seriously, check it out if you have not yet: brainpickings.org), texts from friends… and I was failing miserably. It was one of those weeks where I was seeking the wisdom of others, and yet nothing I read, nothing I turned to (whether old or new) really resonated with me.
Until this weekend. When I read OnBeing’s transcript of Krista Tippett’s interview with Jane Goodall. You know, Jane Goodall, the woman who revolutionized our understanding of chimpanzees…? Reading the interview transcript, one quote stood out to me:
“And I believe, part of being human is a questioning, a curiosity, a trying to find answers, but an understanding that there are some answers that, at least on this planet, this life, this life-form, we will not be able to answer.” (Jane Goodall)
It occurred to me, reading that (and then rereading it, and rereading it again) that perhaps I am in a time of questioning, of learning, of seeking…. and not a time of having the answers, knowing my direction, aware of what is to come.
When I went back to find the quote this morning in one of the electronic notes I keep with quotes that speak to me, I realized that the vast majority of those I’ve found in the last few weeks highlight the importance of questions, of seeking answers, of not knowing the answers to everything. I like to know the answers. It’s one reason I’m a researcher – what better job for someone who likes to ask questions… but who really wants to find out the answers, too!
Yet, for so many people, including me, this is a time of upheaval, of questions without answers, of wondering, worrying, contemplating what the future will be. I know I like having the answers, but perhaps this time is teaching me that I won’t have all of them, all of the time. Learning to live with the questions, the uncertainty, the unknown… perhaps that is teaching me something I need to know.
I know these aren’t novel thoughts during the pandemic we’re (still) caught in, but it does seem as though the realization that the uncertainty will continue for the foreseeable future comes at different times for everyone. Seems to be mine, now. And I suppose it’s time to see where it takes me.
Life is always such an interesting journey, isn’t it?