Here’s a good example of a post I started and stopped several times (thinking few would understand) before taking my own advice to “write it anyway.”
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Go ahead and call me crazy, but the best part of the past year – hands down, far and away beating out all other contenders – has GOT to be learning to live with question marks.
- What caused it?
- What’s going to happen?
- When will that be?
- How will we manage?
- How long until we know more?
- What are we going to do if such-and-such….?
Answer to all: Don’t know.
And THAT’s not so easy for someone whose identity is built largely on knowing the answers. (See previous post, where I prepare to unravel the U.S. Tax Code. )
Comment seen on Facebook today: “For me, it’s that NOTHING has been resolved at all. There are so many questions and I keep waiting for at least one of them to be answered.” Okay, the writer was talking about the TV show “LOST.” Not exactly the same situation as ours, but let’s not get competitive about this. My point:
Most of us are not at peace in the presence of questions-without-answers.
Living by faith is something we do a lot of talking about, but in the face of “I really don’t know,” where are we really with God? I mean, one on one. No platitudes. No pat answers.
Face to face with Him, what do you say? What do you hear? I mean, after the delay (because it takes a while to switch stations – and stop picking up the static of other voices)?
It’s a great place to be, the terrible-and-holy place of I-don’t-have-any-answers. Sacred. I should have taken notes.
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I found the quote I’ve been searching for! Nice surprise, finding it.
“…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.” -Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903, in Letters to a Young Poet (bolding mine)
Live the questions. Absolutely.
Out for a walk on Wednesday, I found the chill October air invigorating and was reminded of a former colleague’s words as she reflected on leaving IBM many years ago, not knowing what she’d do next, “It can be good to get out there and feel the cold wind in your face.”