never say never

by michelle on November 14, 2011

That’s Griffin.

This summer I went to Austin, Texas to see my friend Jamie, the baby in her belly, her husband and her whirling dervish son, Griffin.

As a two year old will do, Griffin had funny little sayings he would repeat over and over. One of them was, Yew nevah know! 

Whenever Jamie and I would talk about some serious topic, on the brink of being defeated one of us would inevitably say, Ya, I just don’t know, or It’s hard to say what will happen.

Griffin would tilt his head and without looking up from his toys he’d chime in his high pitch, Maybe… yew nevah know!  

We would laugh and he’d keep saying to himself, shaking his head, which is still too big for his body, Yew nevah know… yew nevah know.

What a little Buddha

Griffin is on to something. Buddhists talk about the value of uncertainty, the power of the answer I don’t know.

Further, the Buddha taught that there’s absolutely nothing that’s permanent. When we understand this, we gradually stop believing in our various moods and thoughts. The story we tell ourselves has less grip.

There is, as they say, No sure thing. It would be dangerous and limiting (and boring) if there was.

Never say never

A friend recently reminded me of the rhetorical joke, Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.

Ah yes.

Because you just never know.


What did you think you were sure of that didn’t turn out like you’d planned? When has “not knowing” let to something better than you planned? How (un)comfortable are you with uncertainty?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tami -- Teacher Goes Back to School November 15, 2011 at 12:05 am

my first career didn’t turn out like i’d planned. i was so sure i just kept plowing through even though every sign pointed to get out. a decade plus later….

giving up the planning and knowing let me find my calling as a teacher. was it easy? was it fun? did it turn out perfectly? absolutely not.

but going through this process and the world not spinning off its axis showed me i can loosen up a bit and be curious. a little at a time.

so, so, so uncomfortable with uncertainty, but is there really anything else?


michelle November 16, 2011 at 12:15 am

nail on head – thanks, tams!


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