What do you know?

Photo Taken In Kln, Germany

“Look at this,” Joan said as we drove to the park the other day. “According to this FitBit report I just received, I had more average steps per month last year than this year, a higher average heart rate, and got 8 minutes more sleep per night.”

She paused a moment, pondering. “You know… I’m not really sure I need to know all of that right now.”

“Well, sweetie,” I replied… ever the sage. “You know what they say, ‘Knowing is always better than NOT knowing.’”

In return, I received the well-deserved – yet incredibly loving – eye roll.

In the grand scheme of things, it was just another one of those silly spousal exchanges that happen all the time. 

NBD, right? 

But in the silence that ensued, I couldn’t help but ask myself; “IS IT though? IS knowing always better than not knowing? And who is this ‘they’ that seems so cocksure that it is?”

By nature, and nurture both, I am strongly biased in the direction of knowing. My parents were both fierce advocates of learning and and knowledge and being informed. Right up until he died in January 2017, my father was on top of every relevant event in his community, state, nation, and world. You had to stay on your toes around him because a mandatory current events conversation was a part of every family gathering.

Lately, though, I wonder. 

What I mean is, I wonder about the toll “being informed” takes.

I also wonder what difference it makes that I know the exact, up-to-the-minute COVID death tolls, or the precise margin of victory for the Tennessee senatorial primary, or how many acres have now been burned by the Caldor fire, or the concise number of Americans left behind in Afghanistan, or the minor league ERA of Royals pitcher Joel Payamps, or how many angels can REALLY dance on the head of a pin?

I can easily find answers to ALL these questions right here in my comfy, Fort Collins living room…

… and then do WHAT about any of them, exactly?

Two and a half years ago, when we first received Joan’s cancer diagnosis, the oncologist asked us if we wanted to know what stage it was. Because that’s the question everyone asks, isn’t it? 

“Ooooo! That’s too bad. What stage is it?”

But we said, “Nope. No thanks. Let’s just get busy getting it treated.”

And that’s just exactly what we did. And today, praise God, after surgery, chemo, and careful monitoring, Joan is now in complete remission. Hallelujah!!

We learned what we needed to learn and no more. We did not drive ourselves crazy amassing all the “what if?” and “why?” and “why not?” scenarios floating around. We – and our family, friends, and medical specialists – got very tunnel-visioned and prayer-focused and plugged doggedly ahead.

Our approach was an attempt to mirror the unique brilliance of the line, “And give us this day our daily bread,”(Matthew 6:11, NRSV), that Jesus offered us in his perfect prayer template. 

Such a powerful phrase. Jesus here seems to be suggesting that we not spend a lot of energy fretting about anything more than the needs of THIS day. Just like the manna from heaven the Israelites enjoyed… God’s provision will always be sufficient for right now

A little later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says the same thing to the assembled crowd in a slightly different way. He says, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34, NRSV). 

They say what you don’t know can hurt you.

But sometimes I wonder if what we DO know can hurt just as badly.

Abundant blessings;

6 Responses to “What do you know?”

  1. September 3, 2021 at 3:28 am

    How in the world can anyone even know anything? At least from reading/listening to the news. Taking everything that’s said into consideration, a lot of people are lying, unless there are two or more parallel universes,
    (P.S. I use to drive my grandmother crazy every time she said, “They say …” I would always ask her who “they” are, and she’d get flustered.)

    • September 3, 2021 at 7:51 pm

      So true. I think “they say” can almost always be translated to, “This is just my opinion, but I want to make it sound a little more authoritative, so I’ll invent an anonymous group of people who supposedly said the same thing.”

  2. 3 HAT
    September 3, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Yes! Information overload may give us more the illusion of knowledge – if by knowledge we mean something valuable, something we can use. Also there really are some things it would be better not to know, in the sense that efforts in the direction of knowing them harm you and maybe others. Things like how it feels to commit a crime, for instance – or knowledge that only comes from intimacy with evil. That kind of “study” is better to avoid. We might be curious about what the Medusa looks like, but it’s irrational to want to take a look. Diferent from your main point about irrelevancy, I know, but – no, not all knowledge is better to have than not.

  3. 5 ephesians413
    September 5, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Great points. My husband got a similar diagnosis recently. They didn’t ask us whether we wanted to know or not though. They just blurted it out. People do ask what stage all the time. It’s usually the first or second question, but we’re not going there. it doesn’t matter to God what stage it is. We’re just doing everything we can to deal with it. First, trust God. He’s leading us through this journey and helping us to grow and learn every step of the way. “God’s provision will always be sufficient for right now.” Second, avoid the pity party because that’s the real plague. Therefore, stay positive. Third, eat as healthy as we can. We also do juicing and exercise. Fourth, okay and take the medicine.

    • September 6, 2021 at 1:37 am

      Those four steps are a great prescription… for anyone.

      I will be praying for you and your husband as you walk this path. If your journey is anything like ours, you will find unexpected allies along the way.

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