“There’s something I really want but I don’t know what it is!!!” wailed my six-year-old.
I am always floored when a thought-feeling is expressed with such simple perfection. Out of the mouths of babes, right?
It wasn’t just her words either; the inflection, supported from deep in the belly, bewailing the depth of frustration at an unmet need—the sound of her matched the words. Elegant expression—perfect communication—impossible to misinterpret.
These are the moments that we, as parents, almost instinctively tell our young ones to stop crying. ‘Go figure it out then’, we think (or say). Listening to someone else’s pain and confusion is uncomfortable. More uncomfortable still is not knowing what to do about it—feeling our own fear rise up to meet that terrifying ocean of feeling emanating from the child.
Or perhaps it isn’t the fear of not knowing what to do as much as it is the deep discomfort that rises up within us that identifies with that specific pain:
“There is something that I really want but I don’t know what it is.”
Is there a greater cultural taboo than not knowing? America holds no sacred space for mystery. Not knowing = stupidity or laziness or…
The senate trial. If a juror walks in knowing a person is innocent it is not a trial. If a juror walks in knowing a person is guilty, also…not a trial.
Dear ol’ Merriam Webster says:
1: the formal examination before a competent tribunal of the matter in issue in a civil or criminal cause in order to determine such issue
Who knew there would come a day when I would wish that our representatives were better at pretending? Like, ‘gee…I know how I really feel about this issue…but I’m going to pretend like there’s room in my brain for new information. I can at least pretend to be open minded to evidence…open to examining facts without pre-determining how to shoehorn said facts into a verdict of guilt or innocence.
I wish I felt more confident about the senates’ competence.
The Merriam Webster definition of trial that really resonated was this:
4: a test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation
broadly : a source of vexation or annoyance
I mean…right?! That description of how I’m feeling in regards to current events is pretty darn spot on.
Given my tangent, when that feeling of want rises up should I pretend that I know what I want to move forward? Should I lean in to creating an illusion of competence? Or, how do I hold sacred space for not knowing? Can I allow that well-spring of deep belly-want to go unanswered for a bit—not trying to fill it with any sort of fix? Will empty space lead to understanding the call?
And more importantly, maybe,…What to do with the six-year-old?
For now, I think I’ll try looking into her eyes and saying: 'You look so frustrated. I think I have that feeling too.'