So I recently discovered that I don’t know everything.
It came as something of a shock to me, since, for much of my childhood and teenage years, I was fairly sure I knew it all – and failed to see much evidence to the contrary.
I have since informed my parents of my discovery. They were insultingly unsurprised.
It turns out that I don’t know lots of things, actually. Like the answers to most of the questions I hear posed in my theology lectures, or how I will do in my finals, or why people eat olives.
Then it occurred to me that I might have to spend most of the rest of my life in this state of non-omniscience. Perhaps all of it. And it felt like a very long time.
I tried googling everything I could think of, in order to somehow fill the gaping hole of ignorance which is My Brain. But, several days later, I had exhausted most basic scientific enquiries (why is the world so big, why is the sky so blue, am I living in a computer) and had already forgotten the answers. There was also the minor problem of the social/ethical unacceptability of sitting in the dark for hours on end, googling stuff and not speaking to people. So I gave up.
If only I knew someone who knew everything. And if only that person would actually reply to my little ceiling-oriented monologues. I find it deeply confusing and not a little irritating that the answers to questions like ‘when will I die’ and ‘why would God let them make three Hobbit films instead of one’ exist – somewhere – far removed from my brain and the access of the finite world.
I want guidance. Mostly, I want guidance about me and my future. (Based on what worries me, it turns out that I don’t seem to be that concerned about the fate of people outside my immediate circles. I certainly can’t remember the last time I prayed: “Oh, God, please would you just give me some kind of sign as to what will happen in Syria.”)
Lots of people have recommended me lots of books on knowing stuff, or knowing the One Who Knows Stuff – books whose titles seem to promise some kind of insight into hearing God’s plan – but none of it has provided me with actual answers to the stuff I really want to know. Meanwhile, I hear other Christians saying things like ‘I feel that God wants me to…’ or ‘I feel called to…’ Frankly, there seem to be a lot of feelings going round. Is this the same as knowledge of the will of the divine? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doubting the legitimacy of acting on the conviction God wants you to do something – provided that thing isn’t ‘set off a bomb’ or ‘get into a comment debate on youtube’ – but I’m not hugely convinced I’ll ever know what God wants for me until it’s actually happened.
I might have to put my trust in An Infinitely Wise Being, and not my own knowledge. Or feelings. Or Google. And that’s really, really, annoying.
It’s a work in progress.