"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves.
Do not now seek the answers...
the point is to live everything. Live the questions."
-- Rainer Maria Rilke
I remember exactly where I was -- and who I was with -- the first time I heard this prose. It resonated with me then -- and now, too.
I heard it first over 10 years ago, in a hospital chapel. I was there as a student in a Clinical Pastoral Education Program. The blending of my deep faith and spirituality, along with my fascination with psychology and counseling led me to this program where I set out on a quest to become, perhaps, a hospital chaplain.
It turned out, that after completing my first Unit of CPE, I had learned more about myself than I'd ever imagined.
The most valuable lesson I took away from my year in CPE was identifying my personal struggle with the unknown, and my strong desire to put things in nice, neat packages... what I learned is that questions are often left unanswered, and packages aren't always wrapped elegantly and tied neatly with velvet bow.
As I reflect on this past year, this 2010, I am struck by the laundry list of unanswered questions I still have. Rilke's poetry comes to the forefront of my mind once again. So many of my questions begin with, "Why...?" And my instinct is to want them all answered. But the reality is, I may never know their answers. I probably won't. And it probably doesn't really matter.
Live the questions.
Without a doubt 2010 was the most difficult of my 40 years. But even with its challenges - and God there were many! -- it brought so many gifts to my life. Of course, my youngest child Patrick being at the top of this list, but I have also been gifted with stronger relationships, new friendships, renewed faith, and incredible kindnesses bestowed on me, on us. Thank you.
Welcome, 2011. I can't wait to meet you!