Friday, February 11, 2011

Live the Question

"You are so young. You stand before beginnings. I would like to beg of you, dear friend, as well as I can - to have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions like locked rooms. Like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot be given to you… because you could not live with them. It is a question of experiencing everything… You need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Ever since a book titled, "Letters to a Young Poet" caught my eye, this quote has been one of my favorites.  I hold it close to my heart and have gradually, over the years, been learning the wisdom of it.  This has certainly been a time when I stand before beginnings and at times it seems like a wide chasm before my feet.  As a single adult, I have heard many times from others how  lucky I am to not have a great deal of responsibility, to be able to pick up and move wherever I want.  I do admit, it's nice to not have to take into consideration a house or family, but what many who have these responsibilities don't seem to understand or remember, is how frightening a wide world of possibility can be.  When you can go in any direction, how do you know which one to take?  How do you begin to find your way?

I wish this was a post where I outline the answer, give you the steps on how to find your way.  But I have to tell you it is not.  I am still "standing before beginnings" myself, not for the first time, but definitely once more.  I know what I want, I even know where I might find it, but going from point a to point c can sometimes be far more complicated than going through point b.  And sometimes, it is far more simple than we could ever think or hope. 

We each wrestle with this question of where is life?  Where am I going?  What am I supposed to be doing and is this it?  For some reason, we see life as this goal we need to achieve, not necessarily the journey we take. We think we have to get somewhere, to reach some kind of marker.  And as much as I would love to reach new heights in my career and to do during the day what for years, I have been doing at night, a deeper wisdom urges me to enjoy each day as it comes.  Still, I look to the horizon, and shade my eyes so I can see what might be there, just a few steps away.

I do know this: that if you feel called to take new steps, to courageously walk into that horizon, you have merely to put one step in front of another.  God gives us strength for today.  We can plan for tomorrow, but we need to remember, we are living in today, not tomorrow.  And when we do think of tomorrow, we need to take the steps today to get there.  God will provide.  I don't know how and I don't know where, but I know when.  Tomorrow.  And maybe someday, if I keep living the question and taking the steps I am given along the way, I will find myself living the answer on some distant day.

1 comment:

Tim Magee said...

The range of possibilities does not seem unlimited to an old guy like me, but that range seems to be the issue quite a lot.
I work rather assiduously and pretty near each day at getting to where I might play a role in industrial quality improvement. I want to and people in general want to do a good job in their work. I think many workers would find their mental health improved with the opportunity to do their work with a sense of control and justifiable pride. The twentieth century enslaved man to the service of the machine. Perhaps the 21st century could unwind a healthier scenario for many hundred thousands of workers.