The Intimacy of Unknowing

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I am really terrible at keeping secrets. You can tell within seconds if I have something to hide by the look on my face. If it’s a good surprise, I will probably tell you within hours of planning it for you, because I am just too excited. My husband, however, is brilliant at it. His poker face is well-practiced. I think he probably even manages to keep things secret from himself—he’s so good.

For our first Valentine’s Day there were flights booked to Milan. (Way to raise my expectations from the start!) A few years later he’d booked a cottage in the French countryside, close to a Benedictine abbey I’d been talking non-stop about wanting to visit. This past November he finally revealed that he had tickets for us to see U2 in concert here in London—tickets he’d bought in the Spring before we even knew we’d be moving here.

I love being surprised by him. I love the anticipation of getting in the car with no idea of the destination. It’s not scary or uncomfortable because I am confident of his love, I know he knows me, will be taking me somewhere good. And that even if what he’s planned for us is a little out of my comfort zone, it’s probably a challenge he knows I can rise to because he knows me.

There’s an intimacy in the unknowing. There’s a beautiful vulnerability in putting your trust entirely in the person guiding you.

The poet Minnie Louise Haskins wrote a poem called God Knows. The opening verse is regularly quoted on social media at the New Year, but it was only recently I discovered the the rest of it. I love these words:

The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision
Are clear to God.

“Then rest,” she writes, “until / God moves to lift the veil / from our impatient eyes…”

I am slow to rest, impatient to know every detail of the future, every untrodden step.

I am like the wife who refuses to get into the car until her husband has admitted the destination, described every turn of the route he has planned to get there, revealed all the events planned along the journey.

I kid myself that the knowing would increase my preparedness—the joyful anticipation of what’s to come. Knowing is merely sensible! It pays to be prepared. I don’t like surprises anyway.

But truly? It’s just fear. Fear that my beloved doesn’t know me the way he claims to, the way I hope he does. Fear that he’ll submit me to things that will hurt me or challenge me beyond my ability to bear.

What if I could instead learn to rest, to really rest in the love of the One who created me, who sees me and knows me, the One who journeys every step of the journey alongside me, in deep love and companionship?

I’m still learning how to do this well, what this kind of trust looks like in my daily life. What I know is it’s not a promise everything will be easy. The car may still break down. We might take a few “scenic routes” to get to our destination. I may nearly set the lovely French cottage on fire trying to work the wood stove (true story).

But I am always with my beloved, and my beloved will not leave me or forsake me.

As Minnie would tell me, “Put your hand into the Hand of God. / That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

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Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen
Fiona lives in London with her Danish husband and her two young children. She is determinedly seeking the sacred in the ordinary, learning to see that even the most mundane moments of her day can be spiritual if she wakes up to the Divine in those places. She is in training to become a Spiritual Director, and baking is her favourite spiritual practice. You can follow her through her blog at fionalynne.com.
Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen
Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen

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