My safe words — I don’t know.
I’ve drawn the conclusion that I utilize the phrase “I don’t know” for deflection, to side-step questions I have no answers for, and to avoid the scrutiny and judgment of others.
Questions such as, “Krisi, does God exist?” Or “Krisi, do you believe sex should be saved for marriage?” Or “Krisi, should I be eating gluten?”
I don’t think the opposite of saying “I don’t know” is “I know everything.” I think perhaps the opposite of deflection is openly admitting I will never know everything about God or sex or healthy eating. I can only pray, or date of grocery shop based on the knowledge I have at the time, all the while being open to the possibility there is more, there is better.
Let me explain.
I had an internship a year out of college in which I was asked to promote the concepts and theology of a particular blogger. My title was something like Content and Community creator.
Fancy name for scheduling tweets and making sure Youtube videos went live at the right time.
I’ll be honest with you, I kind of sucked at the job. I thought it would be as laid back as my college internship, where getting to the office would be the majority of the work, and the rest of the time we would sit around cracking jokes, drinking coffee and brainstorming blog ideas.
If you have ever had a job, you might perhaps have been able to tell me, “Hey Krisi, you are in for a very harsh slap of work reality.”
About two weeks into the internship, I realized I was screwing up and it wasn’t as fun as I anticipated, I realized I clashed with my boss because I was a little immature and in wanting of a Confidant more than of a supervisor.
I also realized I didn’t really agree with all the concepts and advice I supposed to be promoting. But it was too late, I had moved across the country for the job, I had read books and boldly claimed I was there to spread the truth of my bosses organization.
So I did what any human might, I faked it.
Trouble is I have never been very good at theater, I remember in high school, trying out for the role of the White Witch in Narnia. One girl had encouraged me to go for the role, saying she thought I would be great, so I did.
I walked onto stage with a crumpled script in my hand, glancing down at the words of the witch and then repeating them to the audience. I screamed my lines with gusto, heaving my chest as I imagined the White Witch might, and then turning to the theater director with a look of triumph.
The girl who told me to try out for the role got the part. She must have been better at convincing the director she was a witch.
I wish I would have remembered the terrible witch audition as a caution in my internship, perhaps it would clued me in to be honest with my boss, rather than allowing my distrust for the organization reflect itself in the quality of my work.
Honestly, I spent a lot of time trying to be good at the job, I made myself schedules, check-lists, phone reminders and read and re-read all of the tweets and blog entries I was responsible to post. But my sneaky, lying little subconscious found tiny pleasures in the moments when there was a misspelling or an un-posted video blog.
I was upset when my boss was upset, and looking back I think it may have been because I knew my secret would be found out, that my lack of effort would reveal my disinterest in her life’s work.
Ultimately it did, and the shit hit the fan as they say. When the internship was over, I was bitter with my boss and confident I was not meant to be good at anything that required discipline.
But what does a botched internship have to do with the phrase “I don’t know”?
I don’t know.
Just kidding, I know everything.
No but really, I spent a summer trying strenuously to convince my boss and myself I had to promote the concepts I originally signed up to represent, and in this attempt, I may have done more damage than if I had just admitted I wasn’t sure about my bosses ideas.
When I think specifically about twenty-six years of adamantly proclaiming GOD IS REAL, it seems like I would ruin the image of God for others if I admit I don’t always agree with the above statement. But perhaps, I could save myself and others more damage and bitterness, if I was and am willing to admit one of the components of faith in God, is admitting half or more of the time I doubt God exists.
Maybe I don’t doubt God with my words as much as with my actions. And I don’t mean behaviors like not going to church or swearing, I mean when I choose not to tell the truth to friend when I should, or when my sneaky, lying little subconscious finds tiny pleasures in the failure of the religious, or the contradictions of the church.
I think when it comes to God, or sex, or eating healthy, I am never going to have all the truth, or know just the right way to believe in God, or when to have sex or not have sex, or if doughnuts are really bad for me.
It’s a little bit frightening, because if the answers are not so evident, it means I will either have to fake it, which I think my audition for Narnia could prove I suck at, or I have to honestly accept I will not know.
Which is not very safe at all, but maybe that’s the point.