Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… – Rainer Maria Rilke

A Deeper Mystery – The Quotes Series – Part 3

Go to PART 1  |  PART 2  |  PART 3

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. 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 answer.Rainer Maria Rilke (1).

For the ancient Hebrews, to have no questions was a sign of a dying and dead faith. A vibrant and alive belief system was full of questions: What? Where? When? How? The highest compliment you could give your Rabbi was to ask him a question that he didn’t have an answer for.

Like many of you, I grew up so certain of my ‘faith’ and my ‘rightness;’ that I was on the winning team and had all the answers. I used to shake my head at those who didn’t believe, at their lack of knowledge and truth. People would ask me questions, and I’d answer them, matter-of-fact and without hesitation.

What? Where? When? Why?
God. God. God. God.

Then life started to unfold. Things didn’t go the way I had ‘faith’ that they would. The answers I was once so sure about no longer held up under the weight of my lived experience. And now? Life is so much less black and white and more a brilliant shade of gray. And yet still, I hesitate to ask my questions. Is it OK to ask? Is it OK to not fully get it and to admit that I don’t?

Questions about the small to the complex; can I voice them? Can I tell you, dear reader, that I’m not sure of the truth about a number of things? How can I (we) possibly be?

We need to reclaim the art of questioning; we need to create room for discussion and inquiry and mystery; we need to be free and humble enough to answer many questions with

I.don’t.know.

Because as my favorite poet says, we cannot “seek the answers” as we would seek an afternoon snack or a good book to read. We can only live into the questions; take it day by day in our breath and blood and body. Truth isn’t something you read, or even ultimately discover. It’s an unfolding journey where each arrival sparks a new departure, another journey, a deeper mystery.

Truth is an unfolding ride where each arrival sparks a new departure, a fresh voyage, a deeper mystery. Click to Tweet

These days, I feel much more comfortable with my questions. I know deep in my bones that God is not afraid of them. In fact, the Divine invites them and takes great joy in my seeking and inquisitiveness. I don’t feel the need to have it all figured out and lined up in a neat row. I don’t live for dogma or doctrine.

Because my greatest question is the only one that can really be answered, I’m content to live my other questions now. Knowing that “gradually, without noticing it, [I’ll] live along some distant day into the answer.”

What’s my greatest question, you ask? That’s easy:

Am I loved?

And all the universe and everything within it choruses the answer:

yes.yes.yes.amen.

I suppose as I live into and from that, I’ll discover just how wide, long, high, and deep that love is. (Eph 3:16-20).

Written by Lizzy Milani

1). Rainer Maria Rilke. Letters To a Young Poet. Penguin Classics.

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