Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'm No Expert

What makes someone an expert?

I can honestly tell you that like people are legends in their own minds, there are many who are experts in their own minds as well.

Now, I am not saying that there aren't people with specialized knowledge, exceptional insight or abilities that deserve our respect.  I do believe that there are people who are more skilled, practiced or have more natural abilities.  However, I do not think the word "expert" is one to be tossed around lightly.

For instance, as a mom of 6 beasties, some will jokingly say that I am an expert at the mom thing.  I will quickly correct them.  "Oh, no no no!"  As my friend "K" (also a mom of 6) says, "The more children I have, the more I realize I don't know."  She goes on to say something to the effect of, "When I had one I had all the answers.  When I had two, I was still pretty boldly thinking I had this down.  With each child, I realize there are not perfect answers for every issue with every child and that I don't know anything."

Do experts need to have all the answers?  I think what makes a person most skilled (That almost came out as "most killed" because my "s" key is being difficult) is admitting they don't know all of the answers, or even recognizing that being an expert may not be the goal.

I have a lot of knowledge about many different things.  Some of it I learned in a classroom, much of it through experience and my own inquisitive nature.  I am hesitant, however, to ever suggest I have a definitive answer about most things.  I think most of what I know is subjective, open to interpretation and bias.  There is very little in this world which is so simple.

I know how I see things.  I know what I believe to be true.  I know my experiences.  I know a lot of stuff but just because I've read it in a book or experienced it in my life, it does not mean it will be true for you.  I just see too much gray in this world.

This could prove problematic.  I mean,  I wonder, do I have to be an expert in something in order to be of value as a writer?  I don't know that I will ever feel expert at anything.  I have opinions.  I have knowledge and I guess wisdom, but am I an expert at anything?  I am just a traveler on this road.  I have love and knowledge, experience and viewpoints to share, but an expert? Not. So. Much.

As I was mending my 7 yo's pants today, I thought that I am even the "jack of all trades, master of few" mom and wife. I can do things but I am not an "expert" at anything.  I am okay at the day to day stuff of life, but I don't see myself as excelling or an expert.  (How's that for a glowing endorsement?)

Instead, I'm doing my best to fix the pants and hope they look "decent".

I try new things.  I take risks.  I share what I learn and I try to embrace the journey.  My life is about the journey, the shades of gray, the trial and error, the risk and reward.  I may not see myself as an expert and you don't really need to see me as one either, right? (Right?!)

I mean we all have our gifts and whether we are "experts" or not is immaterial (unless you're operating on my brain, in which case, I'd like you to be a highly experienced expert ;) ).  What matters at the end of the day, I hope ;), is using our gifts fully and sometimes maybe we'll be experts but sometimes maybe we'll just be regular people doing our best to use the gifts we've got in the time we've been given with the people right in front of us, loving them where they're at.

I guess being an expert as a mom or mender of pants or of laundry would be fantastic.  I don't know if it would make me more successful at loving the people in my life.  Being an expert at loving people...I don't know if there is a way to measure it, and I know I'm not an expert at it, but I'd like to be.  Just another way to try to do what Jesus would do.


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