We lived in aged of hoped for certainty. We want to believe that the economic stimulus plans are going to work. We hope that diplomatic efforts will resolve the war du jour, at least until we no longer see the human cost of our disagreements. We believe we can take actions that will bring specific outcomes. We want, need certainty.
I find that my need for certainty is misplaced. As much as I might think I need certainty, it is often beyond my control. Even though I want certainty, regardless of the intensity, duration, and consistency of my efforts, I may not get it. I find that I keep connecting two points that do not need connection.
I am not the first to do this. Many accept the premise that ends justify any means. As long as a specific result is achieved, then the means are acceptable. Means must be certain. Results must be achieved. In one situation, “there were guards at the door keeping their eyes on the place. Herod was taking no chances!” (Acts 12.6c) Herod assumed he had taken the action to bring a certain result. Assumptions are never the same as facts.
Perhaps a different approach is needed to the problems and opportunities we face. Instead of focusing on results, embrace a process that reflects our ideals. We could let go of the outcome, working in the moment at hand to do what is right.
With this approach, there are always two questions in the present. How can we learn from the intent that got us here? What can we do in the moment at hand?
I know that this approach is filled with uncertainty. Participants learn and act, accepting and taking advantage of what s/he has at hand. Judgment only comes into focus during the learning. Compassion dominates the opportunity. Revenge has no place. Mercy frames our alternatives. Putting our self at the center is never the answer. Solutions are only found in context of our families and communities.
We will not control the outcomes. We will give birth to freedom.