I truly like to hear at least two sides of an issue before making a decision. In my last blog, I wrote about why we have difficulty with admitting that we don’t know certain things. I knew when I finished, that I would need to address the other side of that issue and speak about what we do know. Synchronistically, I wandered onto a blog, titled What I Know For Sure, http://beccasbyline.wordpress.com/ in which the author tells her readers that she found her source in O Magazine. She goes on to write out a list of things, she knows for sure at the present moment. Then asks her readers to do the same. I didn’t know how to comment, decided to let it digest for a while, and went back and posted my response yesterday.
Then promptly knew what I would write about today. And also knew (I had to have time to digest, remember), how it might be even more difficult to write about what we know, than it is to write about what we don’t know. It’s that carving a thing in stone, I have already written about, doubly difficult in a time and world where the only thing one can be sure of is change. But, I have a friend who started taking carving lessons some time ago, and she assures me that anything, even something carved in stone, can be changed. She knows that because she has done it, not with stone but in wood. She speaks of first hand knowledge, gained through personal experience. She knows what she knows.
As do each of us. Granted, it is of utmost importance to come to know what we don’t know, that is a distinct step in the learning process. But, if we get so comfortable with what we do know, we may someday take it so much for granted, that we actually forget what we know. We must keep using what we know or suffer the consequences. That was the reason I had to pause and allow myself to catch up with the idea of writing out what I know for sure. I know it because I have been practicing it and discovering the truth buried inside of what I know. It works, because I have used it many times with the same outcome.
Which leads me to the challenge in the title of this blog. I intend to paste some of my response to Becca’s request right here on the page. But, again, because I am a cook who can’t just follow a recipe blindly without adding some of her own spice to the mix, I am going to change the parameters a bit. One of the reasons, I paused, is because I am 62 years old. That’s a whole lot of knowing. I was immediately intimidated by the prospect of trying to make some clear choices from all of that information. So, when I started making my comment, I did it with a certain age and processed from there. This is the challenge: write out what you know starting with your age ten years ago. For each year of those ten, put down one thing that you know from that time period in your life, and expand as needed. Something you learned to be true within your own experience. I will start my own response a little before that and you may use it as an example, add your own spice as you feel led. If you wish, you may come back and put any, or all of it in the comments below.
What I know for sure:
I know that fifty was one of the best years of my life. Two of my children got married, and I was present and helped in the birth of my first granddaughter. One of my poems was the anchor piece for an anthology that was nominated for a Grammy Award, in the Spoken Word category, and I flew, alone, to San Francisco to meet an online friend for the first time, and to go “shopping” on the beach of the Pacific Ocean.
I know that at fifty-one, the heart of my life went out of it, and my world, as I knew it, disappeared forever.
Thus, I know, that genuine love can be the most painful experience one can ever encounter.
I know that grief is stepping off a cliff and descending, seemingly forever, through a darkness that doesn’t want to end.
I know that love, pain, and grief must be expressed or sicken the individual who would choose not to do so.
I know, in turn, that that all takes time, as much time as the individual needs without being told to “just get over it and move on.”
I know that we must each tell our story again and again until we don’t need to anymore because the story has been healed and we can move on.
I know that every single human being needs a means of expression, and that I will use whatever strength I own to encourage that.
I know that laughter heals more and far faster than any other element.
I know that sometimes life gives us a second chance, and we must let our hearts lead us, or risk that chance altogether.
I know that when I listen to someone else’s advice, it is wise to know that most people are speaking to and of themselves and might not really know about what they speak.
I know that teaching another what I know is the best way to learn anything. That students have far more to teach the teacher than she might have to teach them, just as children must teach their parents.
I know that I am a survivor because I am 62 and am still breathing.
I know that if tomorrow comes, I will greet it with eagerness and a gratitude that grows with each moment I am given.
And this last one, you will have to go read Becca’s Byline to understand:
I know that a dog is a symbol of loyalty. No matter, he is rejected, neglected, ignored, or even abused, he will come back and offer his steadfast presence and his joy, if allowed to do so. And that, in turn, is a god that I can believe in.
Have fun, and by all means, write.