“I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem an stand trial there on these charges.” Acts 25:20
I was recently part of a book club with some wonderful women who taught me so much. One, in particular, demonstrated to me that it’s okay to not know something. When a topic arose that she didn’t know about, she simply said so. Without belittling her or being condescending, another woman would explain and fill in the missing pieces of information. Nine times out of ten, I didn’t know the information either, but I wasn’t as secure as my friend was. I didn’t have the courage to admit I didn’t know something. I never voice my “not knowing” because of fear of ridicule. Ironically enough, when this woman admitted hers, I was filled with awe and respect. I admired her courage. I wanted to be more like her.
My husband and I watch the TV show “West Wing” on Netflix (we’re always eight or ten years behind the average viewing audience). Episode after episode, the President faces some calamity or conundrum, and always turns to his advisers for help. Although it’s fictional, it blew me away to think that the most powerful man in our country so readily admits the he doesn’t know something. Wisely and maturely, he recognizes that there aren’t enough hours in the day to know it all. Therefore, he has hand picked and surrounded himself with some of the smartest and most trusted people he knows. In his “not knowing,” he has people to turn to for help.
Although too many to count, my biggest “not knowing” categories are history and current events. History bored me to tears in school; I just don’t think my brain is configured to remember dates and facts. Furthermore, I don’t read the newspaper (on-line or hard-copy), and I don’t watch the news. There, I’ve admitted it! I am just too emotional, too impressionable. The tragedies and horror stories featured in the news depress me beyond words. Plus, there’s nothing I can do about those big picture issues anyways. Instead, I choose to use my time and energy to try and make my little corner of the world a better place. It feels like a more practical use of my time, far more proactive.
Like my book club friend, the fictional President, and Festus, the governor of Judea in this scripture passage, I want to freely admit that I don’t know something. I want to quit pretending, expose myself to the light. I already have surrounded myself with wise and intelligent people whom I trust. Now I want to turn to them, and to God, to teach me and to counsel me in all that I do not know.
Although I want to make this change for me, I also want to role model this for my children. I want to teach them that the best way to learn, and the most honest way to live, is to stop pretending. I want to teach them that it’s okay to not know.