Rev. Wayne Walder: Living With The Unknown

by Reverend Wayne Walder

It is easy to acknowledge that we do not know everything. Most of us can accept what we don’t know. We are not all brain surgeons or rocket scientists. But it is harder to remember that there are things we do not know … we do not know. This is likely where our human concept of God came from. We knew we did not know what we did not know, so we imagined a repository for the unknown, God. As time went on, God took on many “known” qualities, because it is so difficult to speak of the unknown.

Yet every time we begin a journey, every day we awake, the unknown stalks us. We cannot know if our journey will be successful. Recently about 1,000 people began their journey near Buffalo on a normal November day only to find themselves stranded with little food or water on roads that were impassible.

Each day could be our last. Our friends and relatives are often surprised when death invites them into the unknown on a day that began “normally”. I imagine death will one day invite us to the unknown, but not yet I hope!

We so easily forget that we spin on a star cluster on the edge of the universe with millions of planets, most of them unknowable. We so easily forget that one day, not too long ago, we did not exist. The unknown is part of the human experience.

Like defining God, we try to define the unknown so that it is easier to live our fragile lives. We rely on stability through habit and our use of time. We sequence our days expecting our sequencing to guarantee the next thing we do. Our internal dialogue rehearses the future. It is easier to feel good about what we know, to confirm it though our experience and to predict what will happen. Yet we do not know …

Our deeply aware ancestors did the same thing, but they also used hope and faith to help them walk with the unknown. They used hope to sustain their journeys knowing that every journey is a step into the unknown. They used faith in life’s or God’s invitation to live, in order to dream ideas, love others and feel joys in their days.

Being conscious of the unknown can deepen our awareness of our life.

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