“You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and 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.” – Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
I was reading through this book this evening and this section stood out to me. I have been doing a lot of intense reflection lately on the growth I have seen in my life. I’ve thought of the never ending change that is so constant that it sometimes takes me in under its wave, trapped in a perpetual tumbling, unable to breathe. My last post was difficult, not to write, but to feel and to acknowledge. My sister reminded me of a time that I felt lost and completely unable to navigate everything unresolved in my heart.
Reading these words I recognized that this was my savior. It was the notion that I could live without the answers to my unbridled anger and pain that eventually was the thing that completely freed me. This concept is not an easy one to put into practice, but it is such a necessary one to integrate into our lives. Both in my personal and professional life I have encountered never ending questions from myself and others about these Things as Rilke refers to them in his letters; Things that enrapture our mind and move us farther away from our paths.
We have no control over what happens to us. The only thing we can control is our response to what happens. If we go out each day trying to control everything, trying to understand everything before it even happens we are not living. We are not giving ourselves the opportunity to grow, which is the essence of life.
I love the final sentence because it embodies the saying that people know so well, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making plans.” It is this form of “living” that can be termed better as “existing.” Although we are not always able to understand the whys, what ifs, and other Things in our lives in the moment, with time, they can shape our path, for better or worse, they help steer us, help us grow into ourselves. These unresolved pieces allow us to look deeper within ourselves, to understand better our true essence, and to fulfill the needs of the moment. Leaving us in the present, grounded in the now, living, rather than merely existing, stuck in a sea of questions that keep us tumbling beneath a wave, unable to breathe.
Make the choice to breathe each day, to live everything, that is the point.