Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Qs & As

I think we’re all a bunch of control freaks. Well, to some extent at least. What I really mean to say is that we like having answers. Answers create a safety blanket. Having those answers allows us to feel like we are in control of our lives. We can hold those answers close and turn our backs on the endless, intimidating unknown. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter how valid those answers are. Just anything, anything to not have to look the unknown in the face. Anything is better than not knowing. Because not knowing can be hell. We’ve all had those sleepless nights with unanswered questions rolling around in our head. It doesn’t feel good at all.

My mom is one such person who really can’t stand not knowing and she dealt with it recently by going to a Tarot card reading at a friend’s house. She did it on a whim and almost didn’t tell me about it for two reasons: 1.) I don’t really believe in Tarot and 2.) She asked questions about me. She had the 30 minute session recorded on an audio CD which we listened to together. Most of what she asked I expected to hear. She asked about my dad, other relatives, her health and if I will ever get married (of course). No surprises there. But then she threw both me and the Tarot reader by asking about my birth family. The reader, up until that point, clearly had no idea that I was adopted. However, she answered my mom’s questions. The answers? She does not see me ever meeting my birth family, but “not for lack of trying”. She also got the sense that my omma is no longer living (which is kind of striking considering she would only be 41 years old today). In sum, discouraging news. It was weird to even hear someone saying these things out loud, regardless of whether or not they were true.

Days later I’m still thinking about this. I am an adoptee which saddles me with an extra set of unknowns by default. We are no strangers to knowing what it's like to not be in control, to have questions hanging out there all loose and messy with no quick fixes. But how many of these questions do I really want answers to? Even if I did believe in Tarot, I’m not sure that I would have done what my mom did. If given the choice, would you want to just know everything straight up all at once like that? The unknowns torture me, too, but I have to wonder if having all the answers is really the answer. For all our chasing after answers, sometimes answers only lead to more questions and more chasing. So, when does it end? I’m starting to think it ends with accepting that our lives will always be characterized by some level of unknown. Honestly, I don’t want to spend my entire life fighting for control, fighting for knowledge and knowledge and knowledge. Where will it get me?

I asked my mom if she believed everything the Tarot reader said. She said, “Some of it, but I hope you still search for your birth family anyway.” And I will. I’m no different than anyone else in wanting to eliminate some of this unknown. I just don’t want to be so busy always looking for answers that I lose sight of the good things already in front of me. At the end of the day, I don't think having the answers is everything. Not for me, anyway.

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