Learning to live the questions
Photo: Dmitri in the hidden Greek Orthodox chapel in St. Augustine
…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet
I hate not knowing more than just about anything.
I like questions that have logical answers and meaningful conclusions and sensible solutions, and so (in my life and in my blog posts) I’ve fallen into the habit of tying imaginary bows around interactions and events that, in reality, aren’t so cut and dry.
But when I came across this article yesterday afternoon, written nearly a full year after that truly tragic day in Denver last December, I think that I caught a glimpse of what living the questions– even the whys and the hows and the what fors that are painful beyond my comprehension– right on into their answers can really look like. And while I ache intensely for this family that I will probably never, ever know, I am also profoundly inspired by their commitment to holding that horrific tension because it is, ultimately, what has made their vision a reality that will help make the tough questions more manageable for so many others.
No answers tonight; only questions here. And something tells me that’s all right.