Have you ever felt like something was wrong with you because you had a difficult time defining a fierce stance on an issue? If so, this piece I stumbled upon might make you question this feeling of inadequacy.
In the company of the confident, I had always envied their certainty. I imagined myself like some tiny sailboat, aimlessly tacking in whatever wind prevailed at the moment.
But in time, I came to accept, even embrace, what I called “my confusion,” and to recognize it as a friend and ally, no apologies needed. I preferred to listen rather than to speak; to inquire, not crusade. As a noncombatant, I was welcomed at the tables of even bitterly divided foes. I came to recognize that I had my own compass and my own convictions and if, at times, they took me in circles, at least they expanded outward. I had no wish for converts — where would I lead them?
An editor and mentor at the Post once told me I was “Wobbly.” I asked who else was in that category and drew comfort from its quirky ranks. They were good people all — open-minded, inquisitive, and yes, confused. We shared a common creed. Our articles of faith all ended with a question mark. I wouldn’t want a whole newsroom, hospital, platoon or — God forbid — a nation of us. But in periods of crisis, when passions are high and certainty runs rabid, it’s good to have a few of us on hand. In such times, I believe it falls to us Wobblies to try and hold the shrinking common ground.
-From "In Praise of the 'Wobblies,'" by Ted Gup, featured in This I Believe (2006)