I know I had it all figured out when I was twenty. I know, because I remember. I was at BYU, my 1980’s hair as big as ever (and beautiful, mind you), my mind filled with the fire of great political philosophers, my heart filled all brimming to the top with youthful pride. The world was black and white, and I was definitely in the white. I charged forward with confidence and arrogance, condemning and persecuting the poor souls who certainly weren’t looking hard enough for the right answers. They needed answers? Why didn’t they just ask me? I had all the answers.
But then this strange thing happened. I got a little older, and my vim and vigor diminished a little. I saw this woman living her life completely different than my own. But she was happy. She was righteous. She was beautiful. How could we both be right?
I was mentored by some tremendous women in my first married ward — women who showed me that calmness and surety could come from actual experience, not just my own fiery darts of intellectualism. I watched middle aged women carry on with some sort of quiet strength. While I was gnashing and tearing about with the strains of my first child, they were calmly abandoning the arrogance of their own inner 20-year old, in favor of something far, far better.
It was uncertainty.
I couldn’t accept it. For years, I refused to believe that uncertainty could bring me anything but pain and misery. I charged forward with cock-eyed aplomb, recklessly careening through my life without a second thought for whether what I was doing was right.
Then, of course, I ran smack into the ever available “proverbial brick wall”. (and didn’t you know I would?)
I was forced to accept uncertainty. I was strong-armed into total incertitude. It was agony.
But then it wasn’t.
Somewhere, in the midst of all that doubt and queasiness, a calm assurance came. One that said something kind of powerful: “Justine, be still and know that I am.”
Well, ok then.
And now, in the midst of my continued wavering uncertainty, I press forward. I’ve got slightly smaller hair now, but I’m still beautiful. And somehow, it feels even better than before.
Read Truth Beautiful by Elaine Rumsey Wagner. Her grandmother had it figured out. Have you?