Gene Siskel once stumped Oprah Winfrey when he asked, “What is the one thing you know for sure?” The older I get, the more I think about that question and the implications that really knowing something for sure can have on life and happiness.
We have all been told that age begets wisdom, and I suppose that is true in a sense. We definitely have more life lessons to look back on and learn from, but I realize getting older doesn’t somehow mean that all of life’s answers will suddenly become accessible to us. I worry about that, and I hope I can get at least a few of the big questions taken care of before my time is up.
While I may never get answers to the universal questions that we all have (about life, God, our place in the cosmos), I do know a few things for sure right now.
I know that love is worth the pain.
Opening yourself up to another person is never easy, and anyone who does realizes that doing so will eventually hurt. You hurt each other sometimes, even when you don’t mean to. Under normal circumstances, one of you will die before the other. That is going to be incredibly painful. I still know it is worth it to have another human being who cares enough about you to accompany you on the journey.
Most of us don’t have a clue how blessed we are.
Everything is relative, as they say, and complaining comes naturally for most of us, but if we take the time to look around at those who are less fortunate or those who live in countries torn by war and famine, we will realize we have absolutely nothing to complain about.
All humans are created equal.
You may not look like me, you may not act like me, you may not believe like me, but you are every bit as worthy of life and liberty as I am. And I am just as worthy as you.
We can’t do everything, but we can do something.
Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” That is so true. We may not be able to change the whole world, but we are certainly able to make our immediate surroundings better. Whether through charity, hard work, or old-fashioned activism, there is something for each of us to do to make this world a better place.
Those are just a few of the things that I know for sure. Life, I hope, will teach me more.