I was listening to the podcast of one of my favorite radio shows yesterday. One of the stories I heard was shocking, but ended up in a weirdly comfortable place.
It was about a woman who had been brutally raped and lived to point out the man that did this horrible thing to her in a line up. She and all the eyewitnesses were certain he was the guy. He was convicted and did about 18 years in prison.
Then DNA testing was born.
It was determined years later that this man was not the person who raped her. She was shocked and felt incredibly guilty. She just knew this was the guy, and she had been wrong about him.
He was released from prison and she finally was able to meet with him to apologize for having misidentified him in the line up and taken away so much of his life.
I imagined for a moment how she must have felt. Both victim and victimizer. Hurt immensely from 2 sides of the same coin. And how real those feelings and convictions must have been in the moments of her certainty and of self-doubt.
Later, the innocent man went on to commit a brutal rape and murder. He was convicted, and no one could believe it. She now had to realize a man that she thought had raped her, then was sure was innocent, had now committed such a horrible crime–even worse than what had been done to her. The rape victim turned false accuser of an innocent man was now in uncharted territory–questioning all of her judgments.
The host asked her, after interviewing her about the whole ordeal, how she felt now about trusting her gut. She said she is a lot more skeptical now, and is more comfortable with living with uncertainty now.
This blew me away.
Such a simple principle learned through such horrendous circumstances.
It made me reflect on my own life, and the things I just knew before that now I’m not certain about.
Don’t get me wrong, I am certain about quite a few things. Like the divinity of dark chocolate, my undying love for music, and that dogs really are better than cats (I’ll never understand cat people).
But other, more important matters, not so much. And somewhere, somehow in my mind–attached to those beliefs turned into uncertainties–is a feeling that I should feel bad about this. Yes, cognitive dissonance needs to be resolved but at least for now, I really am OK with not knowing everything.
And to think at one point I really thought I did.