I was thinking the other day about what Khmer phrases I use most often, which ones have most infiltrated my daily vocabulary.
Of course, there are the expected phrases, the ones everyone learns in their first week of study--"thank you," "how much is that?" "please bring me some water." All of these regularly escape my lips.
But, I think the phrase I use more than I ever thought I would or more than I ever have before in my life is "I just don't know what to do."
Sometimes I feel as though that is my standard answer when people ask me questions. And, for someone who really likes to provide answers, to enact change, to move forward, to make a difference, that is a really hard phrase to say. It has been a lesson in humility. I have realized that I do not have all the answers, and quite possibly I do not have any of the answers. What I do know is that I have a lot of questions, and the more questions I ask, the more questions I have. I believe there are answers somewhere. I believe that there is something that can be done, something that I can do even, but most of the time I just do not know what that is...at least not yet.
A few years ago I think I would have pretended that I had the answer and plowed forward. A few days ago I probably still pretended that I had the answer...and then the bubble burst over my head again, and I realized once more that "I just don't know what to do."
I am realizing that it is okay not to know. It is okay to have to ask questions, to consult others, to do a mountain of research to solve a molehill of a problem. It is okay. I realize that I would much prefer to say, "I just don't know what to do," than to say, "Follow me! I've got all the answers," only to realize after the fact that my surety was misplaced and actually resulted in more harm than good.