November 15, 2011

Living With Uncertainty

We all live with uncertainty. We wake up each morning not knowing for sure what the day will bring; and yet we act as though it will go as planned. Most often, it does.

Every one of us hungers for certainty. It allays the fear of the unknown. We can quiet our thoughts when we know what lies ahead. That knowledge doesn’t have to be true for it to be an effective balm. How often have we been hit with the truth that belies the certainty we held for so long? And it sends us reeling until we can find our way once again.

That is what it’s like to live with cancer: no guarantees, not knowing what the future brings. I know what I hope for, and I vacillate between the highs of hope and depths of fear.

Will God answer my prayers and the prayers of so many dear friends? Yes. But will it be the answer we want to hear? We’ll see. I’ve been thinking about God’s will for me. If His plans for me include an early death, don’t expect me to like it. I have things left to do, not least of which is to watch my children grow into their adult lives and be by my husband’s side well into old age.

While living with uncertainty is sometimes frightening, most often it is enlightening. I have come to accept ambiguity as a path to knowledge. Not knowing keeps me open to new information and growth. This is especially true in my faith journey. The mystery of God unfolds continuously and my faith continues to change and mature.

In between hope and fear is the middle ground of acceptance. It brings peace because it limits expectations, the source of so much disappointment and pain.

I await that sense of acceptance about my future. I’m probably on some well-defined stage of emotional progress as I deal with my diagnosis. It is important to be allowed whatever feelings are part of my journey, even if they cause discomfort. I’m okay with all these feelings as I process them. I’m okay with being angry, sad, hopeful, enormously grateful, and uncertain—often all at once.

It’s all part of life, and I cherish every minute of it.

Cross-posted to


Rox said...

Knowing you (you know, because we KNOW each other) and knowing what you're going through makes it so hard for me to complain about the minutia I complain about. Yet, somehow I manage. :)

We are all here for a limited time and I think part of the human condition is to want to flail against the eventuality of death. I don't imagine cats or dogs or elephants ever give it much thought, do they? Ever see how happy a dog just IS? It's because they think about what's important, food, naps, and loving, with the occasional roll in something. It's how we all should live. Run with your tongue hanging out.

I think you're entering the phase of this where you are having an awakening of sorts, I really can't wait to see what you come up with next. You are not done with the world yet, dear Birdie. Wow us some more.

Ur-spo said...

Once, a wise person asked 'Tell me, what is the one thing of which we can be certain?" Answer: we will die.
So the only certain thing is Death. All of Life is uncertainty. Not knowing what happens next is what defines being alive.

MartininBroda said...

You're one of the wisest person I ever found at this strange place called the web and in reality you were never far from my thoughts and prayers. Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Dear Betty,

I know getting things done must feel like wading through a neck deep swamp a lot of the time--not just a swamp, but one filled with who-knows-what: 'gators, old washing machine parts, disgusting ankle-deep ooze . . . but if you are able to come visit while Patrick and Bill are with us, I hope you will. We'd all love to see you. Cheers, Mary

A Lewis said...

All of my love to you. In the uncertain moments. In the dark days. In the questionable times. xoxoxo Merry Christmas.