Humans are curious creatures, it's in our nature. You yourself have proved how alluring the promise of potentially juicy or even illicit information is, just by clicking on this link.
Our curiosity has served us pretty well in advancing us from our humble beginnings. We've even created occupations so we can channel this predisposition. Inventors, scientists, archaeologists, historians, journalists to name a few, all contribute to our understanding of our past and present world.
Our wonderful curiosity can unfortunately also manifest itself as unhealthy lust for information. I am not going to pretend to be all high and mighty on this one but gossiping is something I've tried to keep tabs on in the last few years. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that is so tantalising about hearing the juicy details of what's going on in other people's lives but with the prevalence of trashy magazines and websites everywhere you click, it's clearly a widespread phenomenon.
The definition of gossiping is talking about somebody, to somebody else, without their knowledge. The bizarre thing is that often the stories being told are about people you don't even necessarily know that well. But then if you think about it, isn't it weird to know information about someone who would never think of personally telling to you themselves?
Social media has definitely capitalised on this desire. How many happenings are you informed of by your Facebook news feed that you would never actually know about if it were left to the people involved to tell you about them personally? I've definitely done a double take when I've thought about the strangeness of me knowing the details of a friend of a friend's recent break up when considering that my knowledge of her otherwise didn't extend far beyond her name.
Recently, I have consciously been trying to be at peace with only accessing information that has come direct from the source but there are plenty of blurry lines. It's natural to want to share concern for a friend or receive counsel on a difficult situation. Being honest about your motives and intentions I think is a good place to start. It's also a good idea to bear in mind that some knowledge is actually a burden particularly if you learn it in such a way that prevents you from being able to do anything with it other than mull it over. Ask yourself whether you really want to know the answer before you beg your accomplice to "Tell me!"
Some matters best left alone
The answers to our questions have the potential to be really disappointing. Some of the most magical or mysterious experiences can be completely destroyed by the most simple of explanations. It's far more fun to think that Santa is real rather than picturing your parents helping themselves to the left out mince pie and whiskey. We secretly delight in being scared by the wind masquerading as a ghostly presence and we hate people spoiling the endings of our favourite programmes.
Who doesn't love a good mystery? I was recently told possibly the best story I've ever heard but I'm going to force you to start your mystery acceptance right now. All I'll say is that it took place in Alaska and involved a dodgy hostel.
There are two good reasons I won't tell you any more than that.
1) It's not my story to tell
2) I won't be able to do it justice
The reason I bring it up at all is not so I can chuckle behind my computer at your annoyance but because the story has a mystery ending which was initially infuriating: A true "Why would you do that to me!?" situation. After giving it some thought though, I came to see that the mystery was what made this good story, great. There could be no possible satisfying answer to the question it asked so why try to figure it out?
Teasers — just enough to keep us interested
God's love is an even greater mystery; one which should also be celebrated rather than despaired over. There is no danger in disappointment upon discovery, making it the mystery we should be focusing our energy on. I believe that faith is about accepting that you will probably never know or understand the answers but that you commit to a life of asking the questions anyway. Not obsessing over what the Kardashian's have done now or what happens next in your favourite TV show but who God is and who are we that he loves us unconditionally?
The great news for us is that He wants to know us and for us to know Him. I also have it on good authority that God Himself is a great story teller. He gives us wee teasers — just enough to keep us interested without giving away the ending. He has great comic timing, but also knows when to dial it back and just be real. He has a voice that makes you want to lean in closer and listen and I'm looking forward to whatever He's going to tell me next.
First published April 28, 2013
Helen McIntosh is a 21 year old trying to create more than she consumes. She completed a degree in English and Theatre in 2013 and for her writing is a way of banishing any circulating thoughts to make way for the new. With a childhood that consisted of moving around, home is where her family is which for now is Blenheim but where she is in Wellington at the moment is pretty great too.
Helen McIntosh's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/helen-mcintosh.html