...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, 1903 in Letters to a Young Poet
It’s been over ten years since I first read this quote, thanks to Carolyn Arends and her life-changing book ‘Living the Questions’. I have spent those ten years continually looking for the beauty and hope in this truth. Sometimes it’s been a battle to the death- the death of something broken in me. Sometimes the truth has been found in a moment of resolute relinquishment. Sometimes I simply gave up searching…. And in that space, found the truth.
Today my questions are much bigger, and perhaps more frightening, than I could of imagined at 18. How do you comfort a 30-something friend diagnosed with cancer, who doesn’t know the power of love and redemption? Will I ever know the intimacy of a soul mate? What would it look like to no longer live in fear of chronic depression and anxiety?
But like I did at 18, I still believe in God. The God of infinite mystery, yes, but also the God of infinite grace and love and HOPE. That belief is what ultimately drives me to keep living the questions… and waiting for the answers. At 18 I couldn’t be given some of the answers I asked of God. I now know I was incapable of understanding. But slowly, through the mess and beauty of life placed before me, God has granted a few answers. Enough to keep me believing and enough to keep me asking.
And though I have yet to learn the answers to today’s questions, I live in the hope that the God of mystery will help me to live each day to the fullest.
As Switchfoot says in their song ‘Meant to live’:
Maybe we've been living with our eyes half open
Maybe we're bent and broken…
…We were meant to live for so much more
That’s my answer, and my question, for today.