Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

The Certainness of Uncertainty

Now I understand that questions are at the heart of faith, and that certainties about God can flicker on and off, no matter what you think you know. But back then, I thought “believers” were people who knew exactly what they believed and nailed all the answers.


So much of religion is pinned on having answers. Being certain. Having no doubt. Knowing who God is. Who God is not. Who and what God likes. Who and what God does not like.

I used to be certain about a lot of things. I had answers. I could break down a question into the parts of speech in greek or hebrew and answer the question. I was confident even in my condescending offers of help explaining the nature of faith, belief, and God himself.

Then life, death, fear, love, joy, and humanity happened. I mean REALLY happened. I didn’t try to control it or explain it or contextualize it into my worldview. Life happened and I realized that it is a mystery and that God is even more mysterious. And somewhere along the line I accepted (begrudgingly) that I don’t know a lot. That uncertainty is my birthright as a human. That being curious is far more interesting than being sure. And that choosing to believe the best, hope the best, and love this Divine Creator, through my uncertainty, pays dividends that I can’t explain.

Being uncertain means…

…quiet moments of euphoria in a yoga class when everyone’s energy expands my own

…drinking coffee on my balcony as the Unitarians across the street welcome all comers with love and sing “Lean On Mean” loudly enough to make my toe tap

…embracing the mysteries of a statue of St Joseph and it’s powers to help a friend sell her home

…being the kook that shows up with the sage stick and smudges her friend’s new home (like I knew what I was doing…that you Interwebs!) to create good fortune and move old energy out

…closing my eyes to ask that Divinity be with my best friend as she married her new husband and knowing that Jesus AND the Buddha are there

…still, after all these years, waking up to say “Good Morning God” first before my feet touch the ground and hit the day running

…whispering “I’m not sure what to do next” to my friend of a different faith tradition during a ritual that I’ve been asked to participate in and relaxing into it as she says “just follow my lead”

…accepting with understanding that Art in all its forms is religion for so many (including this writer who knows the feeling of the presence of God in a perfect sentence)

…standing before a crowd of women and knowing without a doubt that I was meant to preach this sermon, at this time, in this place, for this purpose

…feeling the holiness of the sunshine (I live in Seattle after all) beaming across the bed, setting visual fire to the fur of my orange cat as he melts his frame over my feet and his little grey sister purrs into my ear as her paws kneed at my arm sleepily

…a hug, a kiss, a touch, a gesture, a look of passion can fill me with hope, anticipation, and sometimes even regret

…lighting a candle and saying “God, my friend needs you. Take care of her today.” and knowing that God, by Her very nature, already loves my friend more than I ever could but smiles as She hears my request

…phone calls where my dad tells me eagerly about some passage of the scripture that he and my mom “discovered the other day” even though we both know that they have read the Bible through every year for many years and wondering together at how it can feel new…even still…after all these years

…sweating, pushing my body, and feeling it respond in pain and gratitude at having something difficult asked of it that it can perform

…realizing with great frustration that my disdain for the religious and political and fundamental ┬áis a reflection of who I once was and who I will always be tempted to be

Being uncertain gives me room to love myself with more gentleness, to gives others room to be seen through the lens of ‘best intent’, and to accept the love, grace, peace, and joy of God that is in me and around me so that it might shine through me.

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