Living the Questions

Questions 2Be patient with all that is unresolved in your heart

And try to love the questions themselves

Do not seek for the answers that cannot be given

For you would not be able to live them

And the point is to live everything

Live the questions now,

And perhaps without knowing it

You will live along, someday into the answers.

Rainer Maria Rilke

QuestionsI struggle with uncertainty. I want so much to feel absolutely sure about things, to have a deep sense of “Hell Yes” about the important things in my life. But “Hell Yes” is a distressingly elusive concept for me. Especially where my heart is concerned.

Life is uncertain. We cannot see into the future. And we definitely cannot control it. There are no easy answers.

These are lessons that I have to learn over and over again in my life. When will I learn that no matter how much I long for certainty, there isn’t much of it to be had?

At the moment, I’m struggling with matters of the heart. How do I know if Will is the right guy for me? How can I be sure that I’m not making another in a long string of relationship mistakes? How can I know whether this is the path down which I should journey? How can I be sure that I won’t end up getting my heart broken again? Or that I won’t break the heart of somebody else?

Question 3

I’ve been a complete mess this last week. The original, crazy, hot and cold girl. And Will, bless his good, true heart, has handled things exactly the right way. He’s been steady and solid and loving. He’s stepped back and given me space. He’s let me sort this out without putting any pressure on me.

And so, in my uncertainty and ambivalence, I’m remembering Rilke’s words. I’m trying to “be patient with all that is unresolved in [my] heart.”Ā  I’m trying to let go of my need for answers, for certainty, for resolution. I’m trying to make peace with “living the questions,” to make peace with not knowing. And perhaps one of these days, I’ll find myself living my way into the answers.


About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
This entry was posted in Living Deliciously, The Alphabet of Dating, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Living the Questions

  1. El Guapo says:

    Sounds like you’re asking all the right questions.
    I wish I had something useful to say, but I at least know you have inner strength for whatever happens.
    And I hope what happens is all the happiness in the world.

  2. CC MacKenzie says:

    Valentines Day tends to send everyone a bit nutso if they’re not part of ‘a couple’ and it looks as if the entire world is loved up and they’re not. I’ve been married a very long time, so I’m going to give you the benefit of my vast experience. šŸ˜‰

    The point about everything you’ve said is that we don’t know if a person is, ‘the one.’ Or if hearts will be broken. In spite of what romance novels say (and as you know I write them) most times love does not come in a blinding eureka flash. It evolves until you realise that your life will be somehow less than without that man in it. My husband doesn’t say he loves me very often and it used to really upset me. As far as he’s concerned there is no doubt, it’s not a question open to debate. It took me a while to realise just how much he adores me – five years, lol!

    I can remember asking my grandmother the very questions you’ve just asked when I was twenty and feeling emotionally bruised. ‘How do I know if I’m in love?’ What if? What if? And she simply looked at me and said, ‘He’ll make you laugh and you’ll make him laugh. He’ll be kind to you and you’ll be kind to him. You know when you love a man because you put his needs before your own, his happiness before yours. Love is the ultimate act of selflessness. And if you are very lucky the man you love will put your needs, your happiness before himself. If that happens, you’ve a good chance of success.’

    Words to live by.

    And men tend to know pretty quickly that they’ve found the woman for them. Women, on the other hand, tend to take longer to fall, which means the balance between a man and a woman can be out of kilter at times. That’s a perfectly normal state of affairs.

    It’s also key in any relationship not to take the emotional baggage from the past into the future because that is not fair on either party. And be kind to yourself if your heart has been bruised and battered. Take the pressure off.

    But what you never, ever, want to live with is regret that a wonderful man slipped through your fingers.

    • CC, thank you for your wise words. I love that you can weigh in both as a long-married woman and as a writer of romance novels. You truly see the full spectrum of what love is and what it can be. If there is one thing I know about Will it’s that my heart is safe with him; that selflessness that your grandmother talked about is at his core. You’re right that I need to avoid bringing my past into my present and that I definitely need to take the pressure off. (And I think you’re right about Valentine’s Day making me a bit nutso too!) Thank you, thank you, oh wise one!

      • CC MacKenzie says:

        Jeez, wise one? You kill me. The thing is never to take love for granted. And I do not love H all the time, and that’s the honest truth. We’ve evolved together. We’re stronger together. But it’s never easy because life throws us curves every day. Being a team makes us stronger, the ebb and the flow. The bells and whistles are nice when they arrive (and they do) but they’re not there all of the time.

        You’re asking the right questions. However, the time will come for decisions to be made and that takes big girl panties and courage and risk. Without all of those life is not worth living. I’d rather grab life by the balls than live with regret. I’ve met too many people (men and women) who live with regret and it’s not pretty.

        I wish you and Will love and happiness.

        It’s really interesting what Will can do and does do for you.
        But what, my darling, can you do for him?
        Just a thought and I say it with love.

      • Thank you, CC. Your observations are insightful and your questions are the right ones. I agree that we don’t want to live with regret. And I think your final question is the central one: if I can’t love and accept Will the way he does me, then it’s not fair to anyone. (And this is a lesson I know from my failed marriage…).

  3. susielindau says:

    Two words – Have faith!

  4. CC MacKenzie seems like a very wise woman. šŸ™‚

  5. You can’t let the future pay the dues from the past…just have faith. An older gentleman came into our office the other day and he was telling us he was getting married. His wife had died years ago and he found a wonderful companion, however his children weren’t as thrilled as him. He said after much throughout he told his children “no one will replace your mother, but it’s time for all of us to start looking through the windshield and stop looking in the rearview mirror.”

    • And good for him! Truthfully, one of the things I like the most about Will is the way he relates to my children. He’s only met them a few times, but he makes them feel accepted and honoured and he likes them for exactly who they are.

  6. kp says:

    Beautifully written post….and one that most of us can relate to. We all want certainty because we are afraid of making mistakes, getting hurt, hurting others….I agree that you are asking all of the right questions. A wise friend told me once, “If you don’t know what you want, maybe it is not time to decide”. In other words, just as you have said, we have to learn to set with the uncertainty. I think you are going to be fine but I sympathize with the place you are in. Be brave. Hugs from Kim

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sally, my love, stop thinking and just feel. There are no guarantees in life, that is what makes it such an amazingly crazy, wild ride. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and trust that you have the strength and ability to face whatever comes your way. Never be afraid to engage as then you are not living fully. Turn yourself over to the journey my friend!!!

    Love always Kira!!!!!

    • Oh, honey. It’s not very often that a comment on my blog makes me cry. Thank you, my friend. And thank you for having been there by my side for so much of my journey over the last five years. You inspire me to live life out loud. xo

  8. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    And we wake with questions.
    Patience is something I have had to learn this life, has been brought clear to me on a few occasions But your words here, they are meaningful to have “out there: thanks for the read.

  9. Chris Edgar says:

    Thanks, that felt sweet and vulnerable to read. I’ve been excited and scared by the uncertainty in my life recently as well — I have a project I’m going to release shortly and I have no idea how it will be received — but there’s definitely an alive quality to it that I want to keep pursuing.

    • Hi Chris, I hope that your new project is wonderfully successful. Having that sense of uncertainty is good in some ways; it makes the later success that much sweeter. And if there’s life in an idea, then it’s worth pursuing.

  10. Marianne says:

    None of us know for sure, Sally – just go with what feels right. It’s often hard when we have been hurt (or hurt others) before, but look at it this way – what’s the alternative?

  11. Definitely feel what you are saying… especially, I see, this post was timed for Valentine’s Day. It’s something I struggle with too… that whole ‘going with the flow’ thing. All I know is that, pain comes with the territory of love. But maybe that’s where we learn the most…? Wish you courage.

    • Thank you, ALarna. I heard the term “Courageous Patience” a couple of days ago. I’m not sure of the source, but I love the idea. It’s a concept I need to somehow internalize. And courage to you too, my friend šŸ™‚

      • Thank you! I “Courageous Patience” – what a great phrase šŸ™‚ I just looked it up. I’m not sure, but it looks like an Admiral Richoker might be the source:

        “Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience”.

      • I really like that quote! Thanks for sharing it. I was at a professional growth workshop one day last week and we were looking at ways to incorporate best practice across our organization. It feels overwhelming, but when we look at small changes we’ve made in other years, we see those practices appearing more widely. So for all of us, in all ways, small steps and “courageous patience.”

  12. life isn’t straightforward. Will sounds like a brick, in the good sense. Keep plugging along!!

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