Hey, I can find quasi-philosophical churchless inspiration in all kinds of places. Yesterday it was in Carolyn Hax's advice column that appeared in the Sunday Oregonian.
Hax responded to a woman who was "feeling shaken in my own marriage" after learning that the husband of a friend of hers has been having an affair.
The woman said, "My husband has never given me a reason to suspect he is anything less than a loving and devoted spouse and father, but I feel myself looking at our relationship with a more critical eye."
I thought Hax's advice was well spoken and made a lot of sense. Here's an excerpt. I've boldfaced the part I like most.
The natural response is to reassure yourself out of this existential crisis, but I suggest you do the opposite and push yourself into it even more broadly.
Since you've already questioned what, exactly, you can know for sure about a spouse, I suggest you keep going and finish off the whole concept of certainty. With a (hypothetical) baseball bat.
Here's what you actually know, at any given time, more or less: who and what surrounds you, what you're doing, and how you feel. The rest is speculation that ranges from highly informed to completely beyond your reach.
You can also know for sure that change is a constant and plans are not guarantees.
"Speculation" may sound like like a tenuous word to describe what we know about the vast reality that isn't within our immediate sphere of knowledge.
But Hax reminds us that speculation ranges from highly informed (proven facts, well-established scientific laws of nature) to completely beyond one's reach (why existence exists, universes beyond our own).
In the latter category I'd also add knowledge of God and what happens after death. Religious believers would want to say these things are usually beyond our reach, but some holy people/books have revealed the truth about them.
Highly doubtful. Regardless, Hax's central point is indisputable.
Once we get away from direct sensory perceptions and intuitive experiencing of our subjective inner state, imagining "what if's" can lead us anywhere. Which usually isn't in a truthful direction.
There's nothing wrong with engaging in speculating, imagining, fantasizing, and such. We just need to keep in mind the knowledge spectrum between "highly informed" and "completely beyond your reach."