I don’t know.

There is so much I don’t know.

You’re not surprised by that reality, though you may be a little surprised by the admission. I suppose that depends on how well you know me. If you only know my surface layers and those only in contexts where I’m confident or have to take on a kind of pseudo-confidence in order to make others feel more comfortable, then this confession of ignorance might take you a tiny bit by surprise.

My friend Suzie has been in Orlando for a couple of days helping me with a curriculum development project. This is the most time we’ve had together since…well…for a very long time. (I could go on and on about how valuable her contribution has been to this work process — but that would be a further digression and I’m trying to limit those to only a few in any one blog post.)

Being with Suzie reminds me of a lot of stuff — and not just of stuff from the past (like remembering things we did together but which have slipped from my conscious memory like boxes of photos or letters stashed under the bed). She helps me remember things from the always. This is good for me, this remembering.

Being with Suzie also reminds me that my view of the world is limited. There are many things I do not know.

Most of the time she does not do this by telling me outright that I don’t know things — she does it by talking about things I don’t know about in ways that I want to know about them. This not only reminds me that my scope of knowing is limited but also motivates me to learn more, grow more, investigate more, experience more. (It also usually makes me want to go to iTunes and download new-to-me music and to Amazon and download a few new-to-me books. In the early days of our friendships I had to go to stores for CD’s and books. Ah technology!)

This is one of the things I’ve always loved about her — one of the things I’ve valued in our friendship over many years. Suzie is a great teacher. She challenges me to keep stretching my sphere of experience and influence, to keep deepening my understanding of the full scope of the wonders of God, to try new things while enjoying old favorites.

She’s not the only person in my life who pushes me toward growth, but she’s one of a few who does it with uncanny consistency, generous grace, and just enough of the right kind of butt-kicking to move me off my status quo.

At times, “there is so much I don’t know” is a sigh of discouraged ignorance.

On the best days, it’s a shout of enthusiastic invitation to the quest.

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