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10 October 2009

“i beg you . . . 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, letters to a young poet 

i encountered this passage from rilke again yesterday, this time on a quotable magnet in barnes & noble.  and there, in the middle of busy, superficial fashion island, it spoke to me again.

i want to live this way, loving the unresolved questions of life, embracing them as bearers of knowledge and wisdom that living will bring.  there is so very much that is uncertain in this world.  far more than there is that is known and understood.  i want to coexist with the questions, rather than beat them out of existence with pompous certainty.  i want to wrestle with them, as jacob wrestles the angel–struggling all through the night and, even in the face of injury, demanding a blessing.  and the blessing?  a new name: israel, or ‘one who has prevailed with god.’  i believe god lies not in the answers, but in the questions.  in living them fully and struggling with them honestly, rather than giving pat answers which gloss over the messiness of life and truth and god.  and i believe if we live honestly these questions, this messiness, we will live our way into answers, prevailing even with god.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 14 October 2009 5:45 pm

    Amelia – I followed a link from the Exponent blog to yours. I have never read this quote/book before but love it and the ideas behind it. I too find myself at times almost violently searching for the answers to the many questions which are tearing through my mind and soul. But then other times I am able to live alongside the questions in a constructive tension. These words give form to what I have been thinking lately, and a beautiful hope for quiet reconciliations. Thank you for sharing this.

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