Holding ambiguity, emanating peace

I sat at the kitchen table yesterday afternoon drinking tea and watching my children play in our back yard (“yard” is optimistic – suffice it to say we live in a very urban area). Still, I’m always delighted when they entertain themselves with little fuss or stimulation, and they did.

For some reason I was randomly poking through my archives and found a post that I wish I had written today. Maybe because I am entering a period of ambiguity and am aching for peace.  Maybe because the friend I mention had another scare about her daughter this week, and still in the midst of that found time to be generous and thoughtful towards me. Maybe because, despite the sunshine, it’s been a fairly gray weekend. I don’t know. Apologies for the retread, but this speaks to how I’m feeling and I wanted to repost it.

Holding Ambiguity and Emanating Peace

The membrane between me and the world is very porous.

Certain people have unfettered access to me; I take their input and criticism as truth. It is like having a central line into my chest. Which is good as long as the input is well-intentioned, even if negative.

I celebrate compassion. I believe kindness is the most important thing. That life is not black and white. That there are many grays. That what matters is doing the best you can. And I believe that most people are genuinely doing their best.

I think that relationships are art, not science. It is a fallacy – a comforting, seductive one – that there are clear rights and wrongs. That there are rules. There aren’t. There is instinct, there is fuzziness, there is lack of clarity. This is uncomfortable. You have to let go and trust. In fact, to force human relationships into a rigid framework of binary 1s and 0s is to miss out on some of their most exquisite, moving nuances. It is in the spaces between that the real love exists.

Life is endlessly long and it is heartbreakingly short. We are all flawed and wounded, we all limp. None of us dances without stumbling. But none of us needs others to tell us we are broken. We aren’t. There is a fine line between wanting to help each other be better people and being downright destructive. There is much good in every single person, so much to celebrate. None of us is more important or more worthy than anyone else. Nobody. This I believe as firmly as I believe anything.

People are amazing. There is more in each of us than we know. Last weekend I watched a dear friend practicing her passion. She had taken a risk, walked away from a safe professional harbor, and she is also enduring significant pain and fear in her family. Handling – with such grace – something most of us can barely imagine. And there she was. Laughing and smiling and creating beauty in the world. She is amazing. People like her make me realize I need to be a better me.

We must learn to hold ambiguity in our hands and still, somehow, emanate peace. We need to accept the terrifying uncertainty of it all. Maybe, actually, embracing that uncertainty is the only road to true freedom. It could all end tomorrow. This moment – and only this moment – is life. What are we all waiting for?

15 thoughts on “Holding ambiguity, emanating peace”

  1. Holding ambuiguity – a phrase we social workers love to throw around. It sure can suck, but when you can do it, it can lead to beautiful outcomes. Good luck, and thanks for sharing!

  2. Very true, Lindsey…

    What the soul knows is often unknown to the man who has a soul. We are infinitely more than we think. ~ Kahlil Gibran

  3. Beautifully articulated, Lindsey. But life for some of us is, and always will be, ambiguous. We learn to appreciate the delicacy of that, along with the burdens.

    As for one thing you said – I will disagree. Vehemently. Though I once believed the same thing. That we are all “equally worthy.” An honorable desire, but in my experience, absolutely untrue.

    There are those who are vicious and cruel in the world. They inflict harm – the very destruction that your kindness mitigates against. Those who spill over their spleen and hurt others – especially children – are not worthy. And in my world of many grays, that is one thing, for me, which is not ambiguous.

  4. Ahhh, Lindsey. Insightful and beautiful. My heart aches after recognizing the powerful truth of your words. I leave buoyant, tucking your advice into my pocket…and embracing my uncertainty.

  5. “Life is endlessly long and it is heartbreakingly short.”
    This line… this is it. All of it, to recognize this and move forward with our days living it.
    This was beautiful, Lindsey.

  6. Your post made me think about those who have unfettered access to me. My immediate response is that there are so few and then I realize that this in fact not necessarily true. In fact, I think I might let too many people have unfettered access to me and not have realize the impact that has on me. I’m just thinking of this now, it comes at a time when it is appropriate for me to be thinking of such things, to evaluate the relationships I have and decide what I want them to be so that I can be me. I believe there is an element of truth to letting go and trusting, but then again one needs to be careful to not value too much or it would be very easy to lose oneself to the expectations of others.

    You’ve left me with lots to think about! Thanks for this.

  7. Beautiful truth.

    “We are all flawed and wounded, we all limp. None of us dances without stumbling. But none of us needs others to tell us we are broken. We aren’t.”

    Or, in the words of Coldplay, “Just because I’m losing, doesn’t mean I’m lost.”

  8. I feel this one… us all striving to get past the WTFness of things and keep learning, growing, loving, trusting—particularly as a group, so unwieldy… every now and then I just feel time peel away… until human voices wake us and we drown.


  9. Ambiguity often describes the murky waters of adulthood. Just when I think I’ve figured something out, I find another wrinkle. Those wrinkles aren’t easy to press out, either.

    Lovely metaphor.

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