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On Giving Up

Earlier this month, I found an unpublished blog draft that is one line long. It reads:

I give up my right to understanding.


I don't know why I wrote it. I don't know what prompted it, or what it was that I thought I deserved to understand. But it struck me as still profoundly applicable to my life today.

I want to understand everything. If it doesn't make sense, I don't accept it. If I can't wrap my head around it, I'm not okay with it.

But what if.

What if I gave up the assumption that I need to understand everything? What does it mean to trust something (or someone) I don't understand? What does it look like to stop demanding that explanations must fit my brain's way of working?


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Marriage is teaching me a bit about this.

I'm often confused by this other person, the way they do things, their logic for decision-making, their assumptions and presuppositions. Sometimes, trying to understand him goes a long way in bridging whatever gap or obstacle seems to be between us. But sometimes, it's an exercise in futility.

There are some things he cannot explain in a way that my brain will get on board. And there are things about my self, my preferred methods of being that he cannot grasp, no matter how hard he tries.

This is inordinately frustrating.

But what if we gave up that right?

What if we simply said, "I trust you," and moved forward together?


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There are a lot of things I don't understand in life, why things go the way that they do. And I put a lot of energy into making sense of seemingly meaningless or uncorrelated events.

What if I stopped doing this? What if I put this same energy into something else, say, enjoying each day as it comes along, or doing well the things that I can control and am responsible for?

I don't mean that I'm going to just brush everything off and say, "Oh well, can't understand that!" I'm not advocating avoidance. But maybe acceptance doesn't require the 100% understanding I've been striving for.

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