by Dave Markwell

The older I get, the more uncertain I have become about many things. Proving this point, I’m not even sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I often find myself perched on the fence about lots of different issues and/or ideas. I don’t like declaring a position. And, I typically don’t trust people who are quick to take a strong position. I have been either blessed or cursed with the capacity to see multiple potential answers to questions. My wishy-washiness is not a lack of courage to stake a claim and own my opinion. I merely have lots of opinions and can see issues from different viewpoints.

Over the years, I have managed to frustrate my old buddy, Dan, with my standard response to his seemingly simple questions: “Welllll….it’s hard to say…” I reply and I’m pretty sure he has wanted to punch me hard upon hearing, once again, my lack of commitment to any position.

I found my defense in a quote I read the other day:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell

Eureka!!! This is it!!! This establishes that I am NOT the problem with the world. This is good to know as I was beginning to worry. Many of us can rest easy with this knowledge. It is not necessary to pick sides on everything. Most issues are more complicated than they are presented to be. That’s why it’s important to be wary of words that sound too good to be true. They usually are. Living in this world is not a simple business and what is “right” is rarely clear.

Sometimes, however, “right” is very clear. In these moments, it is very important that we speak up. Our voices are necessary to drown out the loud, but wrong ones intent only on creating havoc and distracting us from the truth. Justice is found in our spoken words.

While much of my water is muddy, some is not: the other morning I walked into my daughter’s bedroom playing my favorite song from our recent trip to Hawaii on my iPhone to wake her. She smiled and covered her head with her favorite fuzzy purple blanket; the other night, I sat with my son discussing his high school experience and I saw his mind exploring the awesome potential of his future; this morning, I delivered coffee to my wife as she lay cozy in bed, listening to our daughter practicing “Silent Night” on the piano. In each of these moments, I knew without a shadow of a shadow of doubt that I loved my family so very much. And in a world of so much uncertainty for me, it feels good to have something to know for sure…

PS: This week’s column is dedicated to my friend, Nancy Warren. She was much more certain than I, but lived as an example of kindness and truth and love. She was more than simply human; she was an “experience”. Her spirit was vast and infectious and her heart as big as her smile. The world lost a good one…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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