The Saving Grace of Uncertainty

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Email sign-offs – that final dilemma before hitting Send – are for me an ongoing source of curiosity to receive and occasional fretful decision making to send. Running from the bland and often nonsensical “Thanks” to the truly inspired, my all-time favorite arrived last week:
Have a wonderful day of uncertainty!
This one grabbed me by the eyes. That unexpected jangling together of “wonderful” and “uncertainty” instantly appealed to me despite my own impulse to pound everything down until there is no mystery left.
What was the story behind this unexpected marriage of words, I wondered? I wrote Dolores Foster, one of our PowerInsight CIS Analysts, back to ask. It turns out this sign-off came to Dolores via an email from a friend – let’s call her Lois -- who now signs all her emails like that and has ever since the day she called her 12-Step sponsor to do some complaining. It was a call Lois made bright and early in the day to get a jump on all the complaining she had planned. However, before Lois even had the chance to get into her griping groove, her sponsor cut her off, wished her a “wonderful day of uncertainty” and hung up. Not even pausing to take offense, Lois very much took that suggestion to heart and has tried to live her life that way every day since.
I don’t know how having a wonderful day of uncertainty happened to address what Dolores’ friend was complaining about or if it even did. Somehow it doesn’t matter. Whatever our grievance is with life, it can all change in an instant, to be replaced by something else -- maybe something worse, maybe something better. We just don’t know, which makes Have a wonderful day of uncertainty a perfect catchall for every occasion.
While many of us have an uncomfortable relationship with uncertainty, my guess is that the actual gift of uncertainty is a multi-step lesson in grace: an agreement to develop the psychological flexibility to accommodate what comes and the humility to appreciate that our power is ultimately incomplete. Something closer to choice than rule. Something closer to love than fear.
I need to hear “closer to love than fear” like an echo in my ear.
And now for my sign-off, which I will once again steal from Dolores (waddya gonna do; she’s got the best lines):
I am upright and taking nourishment this morning and ready to enjoy my day of uncertainty. How about you?