Wednesday, September 03, 2008

questions and answers

Ornate door in Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal
Copyright (2) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, "I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me." -Ann Landers

I beg you... to 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 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 ever noticing it, live your way into the answer. -Rainer Maria Rilke

The second quote is on a card that is on my desk. I don't read it often, although I love what it says. Very apropos. I am dealing with some issues in my life right now that are pretty intense. When I go through the intensity, I feel at once both strong and vulnerable, but I also tend to react strongly to perceived slights during times like these. More acts of self-sabotage, I guess. It's the old pendulum swing of reactions and emotions. Like most children of abuse, I tended to keep the important most vulnerable things to myself as a child, and yet particularly as I became a teenager I would also react verbally when I felt slighted. This has a tendency to push people away.

I think that in some ways, we have a very unhealthy society, because people do not seem able to communicate in a healthy way in any sort of conflict or disagreement of ideas. I am learning that I have a way too idealistic view of people. I see the model that Jesus set up - forgive not 7 times but 7 x 7, always forgive, always be merciful, as your Father in heaven is merciful. I want to believe that people will be forgiving and understanding and will always be there to work things through - especially those who care about me. It seems like that is just not always the case. Or, I should say, not usually the case. I used to think the problem was them, but I am learning that I have unrealistic expectations in this regard. I think that people's emotions are fragile, and people have their own boundaries that are not always clearly visible, and we can cross them without realizing it. And when we tell others that our boundaries have been violated, we must take great care to know how and when to do so, if that relationship is one that we treasure. This is one of those lessons I am learning, and that I will continue to learn. I am living the questions, I don't have all (or most of) the answers.

And I know that I fail again and again to follow the idealistic standards I would like to live by myself. I'm pretty good at forgiveness and working through stuff, but I am not so good at sitting in my discomfort - which includes "not knowing," and feeling slighted. I want to fix things. I want to speak up for myself. As a child, no one took care of many of my needs so I learned to take care of my own self. I learned that if I needed something done, I would just do it myself - even when others said it couldn't be done. But sometimes, I'm learning, that what I need to do is "do nothing." The most challenging part of that is not knowing for sure that is what needs doing! If God would just send a billboard, please! :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


"Christ is Anointed!"