LIVING THE QUESTIONS
Feeling vulnerable doesn’t mean you are powerless and feeling uncertain doesn’t mean you are lost, but I don’t know anyone who really enjoys those feelings of “not knowing.”
I often refer to those periods as “hang time” – a term used in football, when the ball is suspended in the air and no one knows for sure where it will come down.
So it is with the questions that live quietly, or not so quietly, inside us. Some may have been there for a long time, others may be new. Some may be uncomfortable or even painful and others create fear.
All we know for sure is, we want answers, and we want answers now. Those of us who are older however, know from experience the big questions seldom are answered quickly.
I’ve always loved the phrase “to ponder”, which to me means being thoughtful, being patient, looking at all the options or being open to a new option never before considered. What I don’t like about the word is that it always involves waiting. We are taught to read and write and do our math, but there are no courses taught on how to wait.
Then I ran across a little book by Rainer Maria Rilke, a collection of letters written to a young poet named Kappus and titled ADVICE TO A YOUNG POET.
A quote from one of the letters speaks of living the questions.
I don’t know what the young poet’s questions were, but whether your questions are small or large, perhaps you, too, might find these words helpful.
....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