“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers.” –
–Maria Ranier Rilke
That is perhaps one of my favorite statements from one of my favorite poets. We all have a lot of questions in our life right now, that we would like to be answered right now. Like, “Why is it so hot in Arizona?” (I’m home for the weekend at a friend’s wedding, and forgot how hot it gets..in May). Or, “What am I going to do when I graduate?” Or “Who am I going to marry?” These are some of the questions that are common, and can plague us. Everyday questions that we all live in.
Your question may be different. It may be as unimportant as, “What am I going to eat tonight?” Though I guess that question becomes important if our answer has been In and Out everytime. And then they might be more serious, like, “When is my mother going to be healed of cancer?” The point is, we all live with many questions. Some questions have immediate and simple answers to them, and others do not.
But what I have realized as being important is not the questions themselves, always, but rather how we approach the questions. How we live in the questions. Maybe some questions are not to be answered, like, the question of evil in the world, or, “If God is all powerful, and all good, then why is there so much sufferring?” Maybe I am not to answer that question. I spent a good deal of my time in seminary and other times in my life pondering questions that may not always have answers. And I have learned to live with those questions, without trying to have all the answers. Maybe someday they will come, and maybe they won’t.
Maybe I will never know why my mom died of breast cancer when I was 11 years old. That cannot be answered, at least not to my satisfaction. And too much questioning of that question, takes away from the living.
I am coming to believe that one of the most important ways that we can embrace life in it’s fullest…today..and live it most abundantly, is when we learn to live in the questions. When we learn to live in the tension of not knowing.
As Rilke so eloquently puts, maybe we are not able to live properly in the questions we have at this point in our life. Maybe there will be a time when the answers will come to our questions and we will finally feel like we can live life. But we cannot wait until that time. We are to live life now, questions and all.
I think for many Christians, myself included, we can often be more about trying to sufficely answer all the questions we have about life, and about God, before we go on living. We are not always comfortable about living in mystery. So we work really hard at memorizing all the correct apologetic doctrine to help keep us armed, and to help us answer any question that may come up. Because God forbid we are ever unable to answer a question (in case you can’t tell from my tone, I am being sarcastic..haaa).
Maybe we should live each day to its fullest, questions and all. And if God so chooses to, He may one day reveal the answers to these questions we have.
My main question right now is, “Will I be able to possibly get everything done before my wedding?” If that’s my main concern, then I might not fully live and appreciate the time I am living in right now…before the wedding.