The more I know the less I understand

Don Henley told me that once. I was listening to my radio in 1989 and he was on the other side of it trying to get down to the heart of the matter. Albert Einstein listened to Henley, too, because he once said, "The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know."

What a peachy fact of life.

Recently, I celebrated a big birthday, the birthday-that-shall-not-be-named. Every time I say it out loud, I black out.

What's shocked me more than the number is reaching this point in life and still struggling with basic life questions, like:

  • Where to from here?
  • What should I be doing with my life?
  • What's my purpose?
  • Why haven't I purchased an easy grip jar opener by now? 

I mean, really, how many times do I need to bruise my palms before I accept there are jars not meant to be opened?

Stupid pickles.

The not knowing.

Many of these questions we wrestle with our entire lives. I get that. Part of the struggle will always be finding peace with the mystery. Still. I don't know about you, but living in the unknown is antithetical to my personality.

Problems need solutions.
Ignorance needs education.
And all mysteries must be solved. 

Faith asks for something quite different, though. It says to believe without seeing. Hope without reason. Move forward on a darkened path.


The second harvest.

But I have a theory.

What if there was more to find? We traversed life harvesting what we could, but what if there was grain left behind?

I got the idea recently after reading the story of Ruth, who found her future in a field.

A common practice in ancient times was for the poor to go through fields after harvest and gather what was left behind. And God made sure there would always be something left behind.

"When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 23:22 NLT

By following after the harvesters, Ruth found food for herself and her mother-in-law. This sustained them until Boaz, the owner of the field, redeemed her in marriage. Together, they had a son, Obed, who ended up being the grandfather of King David.

Not bad for a poor girl gleaning a second harvest.

The next time around. 

To celebrate the birthday-that-shall-not-be-named, I've decided to set aside my plans to take a European, yet also tropical, vacation, while throwing a massive party extravaganza for myself after checking off all the items on my bucket list.

Instead, I'm taking a trip into the past.

Because I'm a girl who likes cheap, meaningful experiences.

What I hope to do is visit the people who have impacted my life up to this point. Not to reminisce. The past is nearly always best left where it lands. This is to remind myself what I gleaned from them the first time and, if my theory stands, glean more.

This is me walking the fields after the harvest. Like Ruth. Except for the whole sneaking down into the threshing floor scene. Breathe easy, men, I won't be uncovering anyone's feet. (Hey, that's a decent joke. If you didn't get it, read Ruth 3.)

The rules.

If this inspires you to do the same, join me! Here are the rules, which I can't actually enforce but I hope you follow them anyway.

1) Do this in person. 

We are far too disconnected as a culture. We text instead of call, converse on a thread instead of at a dinner party. Face-to-face time is a crucial element to building intimacy and closeness in relationships. So sit down together. Share a cup of coffee. Take a walk. But do your second harvest in person.

2) Don't visit bad memories.

This adventure will become dangerous and unhealthy if it turns into digging up graves and exhuming bodies. When you make a list of people you want to revisit, focus only on those who left a positive impact. Not on settling scores or getting closure. This is not that.

3) Take what comes. 

This journey will have a mind of its own. Which means you may not unearth any life-altering revelations. You may discover something entirely unexpected. So go forward with excitement, but not expectations.

4) Tell them their impact.

We rarely know what impact we have on the lives of others. But wouldn't it be cool if we did? This is your opportunity to pay that forward. Give to someone else what you'd love to get. Besides, if you don't tell them what they've meant to you, who will?

5) Share!

Comment below. Blog about it, which is what I'll be doing, too. Post and tweet about it. And, if you do, use #My2ndHarvest so I can find you and I'll share your experiences, too.

The first harvest may have ended. But the fields are open for a second round. Go out there and gather some grain, my friends.