I was adopted from India at five months old, and other than a few hospital papers and a referral photo, there’s not much more to document my life. For most people having five months of their lives unaccounted for would be weird, even worrisome. For me, it’s just normal.
I don’t remember asking if I was adopted, I always just knew (apart from the obviousness of not looking like my parents.) I do remember asking my mom questions. Did she think I looked like my birthmother or my birthfather? Did my birthmom hold me? Did she see me before I was given away? She couldn’t always answer them, but sometimes we’d make up stories and wonder.
I still have some of those questions. Sometimes, I realize that’s idyllic. There’s no way of knowing if there was selfish or selfless motive in my birth mother’s heart, but that is part of the grateful grief that fills adoption. There’s always this loss and knowing… even if it’s a knowing-that-you-won’t-know. (Yes, I know that sentence was complicated to read, it’s even more complicated to live).
I’ve always had this understanding that some things would remain unresolved.
Little did I know, being “unresolved” has become such a formative part of my journey. A lot of my stories are latent with moments of not adding up, “almosts” and “not quite.” Like the time I wanted to be in full-time ministry but didn’t quite get my funding. Or the time I was dating someone and we almost got married. Even when I have had momentary glimpses of celebration, they seem to later dissolve under challenge and unfortunate circumstance. There’s a lot that remains mysterious—unresolved—as I look at my life. I wonder how, or if, it will add up.
We live in a culture that glorifies happily-ever afters. The heroes are the ones who defy all the odds—not the ones who try their hardest and still have messes. We want to hear about victory, the healing, the win. Rarely do we make spaces for the almosts and not yet, much less the sadness, the confusion, and suffering that accompany the unknown.
I want to see our stories of heroism change. Let’s be bold to be unresolved. I want our stories of hardship and hurt to be equally heard, shared and celebrated. We are bolder for trying, for striving, for getting back up. Let’s trust ourselves and each other with the things we don’t quite know—the messy, the blurry, the unknowns.
Being unresolved reminds us we are vulnerable, broken and need to be known. It’s hard to trust what doesn’t make sense. The miscarriage, the breakup, the loss of a job. Sometimes it’s not enough to say, “Life isn’t fair.” Don’t we already feel that so deeply in our being?
An unresolved state draws us out of our prefabricated categories and compartments. It invites us to discover something more.
We are no longer either progressive or conservative.
Rich or poor.
We are not young or old.
We are not pro-this or anti-that.
We are not the haves or have nots.
These unresolved spaces become sacred when our narratives of heroism change. We are invited to a sacred space, instead. The Holy Spirit inhabits mystery. She shows up in the unknown. She calls us out of darkness, She illuminates the deep. She forms and transforms these unfinished edges of our lives.
Let’s be bold and share what is unresolved. Let’s explore how much bigger God can be. Let’s share the messy in-betweens of process and mistakes, of learning and unlearning what we think our hearts already know.
God resides in mystery and calls us deeper.
I want to see us be bold enough to say, “I don’t know” and keep looking for the answers. Let’s dance in the unknown. Let’s pursue the mystery. Let’s seek out what’s hardest to find.