What I know for sure

I have seen some interviews where Oprah asked people, usually celebrities, what they know for sure. The one I remember vividly was when the women from The Hours were on, and Nicole Kidman said something like, “Be open and trust people,” and Meryl Streep said she knew she was never going to lose the weight from her first baby. So, you know, from profound to silly, but I always thought it was interesting, what people know for sure, and how different it can be from my own experiences. People might say that they know they can’t walk past a bookstore wtihout stopping in, or holding a baby makes them calm, all kinds of things. At one point I thought maybe I could make a post of things I know for sure, but I couldn’t come up with enough things for an entire post. And I realized when looking at the draft of that post that the things I think I know for sure aren’t always as constant as I once believed. I wrote, “Mike will never say no to a Diet Coke,” but we know that’s not really the case anymore, and he’s been saying no for about a week and a half. I wrote, “Rainy summer days are always bad hair days,” but lately they haven’t been so bad. And I think about relationships, how I am sure I know how people I love will treat me and others, and how people have surprised me, in both good and bad ways. And we keep making plans for the future and they keep changing, so it seems like what I know for sure is not to take anything for granted, not to plan your life away, be open to change, that kind of thing. (Mike just snorted when he read that I, of all people, recommended that anyone be open to change.)

And I know that there are people who would talk about God when it comes to things they know for sure, but I think I’m still figuring a lot of that out. There were many things I thought I knew for sure about God and the way he works that haven’t proven to be true, partly because I kept expecting God to work in a certain systematic way and partly because I just needed to get over some adolescent self-centeredness (now I’m in my 20-something self-centeredness phase, but at least it’s a new and different kind of self-centeredness, right?). I don’t blame God for that, but neither am I willing to make pronouncements about the eternal here on the web for anyone to see. I’ll just keep figuring that out in private, if it’s okay with you.

Anyway, thinking about what I know for sure gives me a slightly stressed-out feeling, like there are all these things, beautiful things, that I wish I could say about people and relationships and life here on earth. But there’s always a loophole or an exception. You can’t depend on people, because they are going to let you down at some point. I know that for sure, but it’s not very positive, so I’d rather not leave you with that. In fact, now that I think about it, maybe Nicole Kidman had it right . . . despite the fact that you can’t depend on people, I think I know for sure that you can’t stop trying, that you have to be open, because being closed means you’re going to miss out on a lot of joy. The thing is, I feel pretty confident that I know that for sure, but I am not at all sure how to apply it to myself on a regular basis. But I know for sure that I should.

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