Thursday, February 16, 2012

Living the questions

My blogsister Joyce has a way of wandering down the same paths I travel, and after writing yesterday's post I found this quote in a post of hers a couple of days back. 
It's from Rainer Maria Rilke, and is a perfect response to yesterday's concerns -- as well as a reminder to slow down a bit as we start moving into Lent...
"I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear friend, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books 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.
On a related note -- I received official confirmation today that the bishop for whom I worked when I was the communications director for this diocese has been suspended from ministry for 10 years “as a result of allegations of facts that would constitute one or more breaches of Standards of Conduct.”  Though I knew the news was coming, I find I am deeply saddened -- not just for him, or his family, or the church, or any individuals his actions may have harmed -- but also (quite selfishly) because I thought at the time that that was the job I had been born to do, and I was terribly sad to leave it.  So reading of his suspension takes me back into that space -- both the memory of the sense of completion I felt while doing the work and the memory of the frustration and helplessness I felt when things began to go awry. 

It was the one job I've ever had which perfectly matched my skills, education, experience and inclination. Choosing to leave was one of the hardest things I've done -- and I felt awash in a sense of failure for years afterward.  But in talking with my husband about this -- he has a similar experience in his own working past -- he pointed out that had it not been for my departure, I might never have had the chance to live in the islands and raise my children there; might never have found my voice as a singer and actress, might never have become a photographer, might never have come to know and love Centering Prayer, Cynthia Bourgeault and Lynn Bauman... and all of you, and my blogsisters.

So much of what gives my life value and meaning now came into my life as a result of that loss, just as my beloved husband and daughters could only come into my life after the loss of my first marriage.  Maybe it's time to let go of the idea that there was something I was born to do; that I ought to have figured out what that is and be doing it.  Perhaps it was never about what we were born to do but about what we get to do? Or maybe it's just that this is not a time in my life when I'm meant to be giving back, but simply to accept and receive?

I guess those are the questions I'm living today...


Joyce Wycoff said...

Thanks for including me on this post ... it is so beautiful and timely. I think you're right, there's probably not just one thing we called to do ... perhaps we're called to live our lives in love and peace, growing in each moment.

The "things" and "activities" are just markers along the way. It reminds me of a poem I wrote years ago and am going to post this morning so that I can read it again.

Maureen said...

Sad to hear about the bishop.

What a wonderful list of accomplishments you can claim out of your feeling of loss. I'd add to that your deep, caring, abiding friendship.