In front of the class my teacher would ask a question. I was somewhere in the middle—neither in the front with the ambitious students nor in the back with the ones who’d already given up at 13. Even if I thought I knew the answer, I would never raise my hand. Then another kid would be affirmed for his correct response, the very one I’d kept in my mind.
Somehow in the past twenty something years, I’ve grown quite confident. If I were in that same class—well, not a junior high class, maybe a college course—I’d thrust my hand high with confidence, though I guess it depends on the course.
See, there are a few fields in which I’d consider myself highly knowledgeable. Or at least that I know more about than others. I may not be an expert, but now I’m the kid with the answers.
Music is one.
And the other is the Bible. Or how we relate to God.
But then certain things happen to shake my dogmatism. I read a book or have a conversation with someone who challenges my beliefs. Or something catastrophic happens to a loved one.
Now, music remains the same. In many ways it’s logical. It’s like math. Despite that it’s a difficult one, an F13+11 chord will never change. You can approach it from different angles (we call them inversions), but the notes remain: ‘F-A-C-Eb-A-D’. (Maybe even throw in the ninth, a ‘G’, for good measure. And drop the ‘C’. Who needs it?)
Regarding matters of God and Scripture, I’m realizing I’m not much like that kid I was in junior high. Then I knew the answers but was too shy to speak up. Now I’m expected to speak, though I’m unsure of the answers. Now I’m more like the teacher in front but only a few pages ahead in the text. And even those pages I don’t quite understand.
What do I say to the ones close to me who are enduring a tragedy? A heartbreak I feel as well? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll simply mourn with those who mourn and contemplate answers later.
I wish I were as confident in life as I am about a 13th chord. But then, this just might be where God wants me. No one likes a know-it-all anyway.