Loving the Questions

For as long as I can remember, I have been an impatient person… and a worrier. Such endearing qualities, I know. Oh… And I am also a ruminator… with a capital “R,” I can chew on a thought like nobody’s business. Seriously. You can ask anyone.

In fact, anyone reading this who knows me very well, is probably at this moment, smiling, laughing or at the very least nodding their heads in enthusiastic agreement. I’m not sure why I am like this. I wish I could blame it on someone or something… like my parents or older sister, a sadistic teacher, a traumatic childhood event, an evil playground bully. But none of that would be accurate. See, I’m fairly certain that I came straight out of the womb, hard-wired to be like this.

I ask a million questions it seems… all the time. What am I doing? Where am I going? How is THIS going to turn out? What is (insert name of just about anyone here) thinking right now? When will that happen? What if this happens? What if that other thing happens? How am I going to pull THIS off? How’s THAT going to work? What if? How come? What for? Why me?

I also rush ahead (in my mind) wondering about the future, rather than living fully in the present. I mean, do I ACTUALLY think that by dwelling on or worrying about the future I am going to miraculously get to any of the answers any sooner? The thing is… I know that this kind of thinking is not only an exercise in futility… but it is harmful. It’s harmful because it robs me of any joy that I am capable of feeling right now… in the present.

So, for all my fellow worriers, ruminators and commiserative comrades out there… I want to share one of my favorite quotes with you. The reason it is one of my all-time favorites, is because it does such an amazing job of bringing into focus exactly how we ought to see our current realities as well as our futures.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms or books that are written in a foreign language. 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 answers.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

It’s so important to remember that Time will… in time… pull back the curtain and reveal the answers to us one day, but until then we need to enjoy whatever TODAY has to offer because the Present is the Future of the Past.

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7 thoughts on “Loving the Questions

  1. Nannette says:

    WOW!!! It’s like seeing/hearing my own reflection. I live everything out in my head ahead of time but it turns out really bad. Then, in real life it turns out okay and usually isnt as bad as i imagined. Upon self-analysis, i think i do this so that i am prepared for whatever life has in store for me that day. But it’s also another way of worrying and fills me with dread, which is not a fun or healthy way to live my life. They say you should replace those behaviors with something else because after awhile your brain becomes hard-wired to do the same thing over and over again. Change is scary sometimes though. You just have to keep moving and take one day at a time, as my 90 year old grandma says. If anyone knows about that, it’s her. She is always happy and I want to be like her, not dreading the day!

  2. And I thought it was just crazy me! I am the same way. It really is awful. You should read the book My Stroke of Insight by Jill Taylor Ph.D. She talks a lot about that sort of thing in the last half of the book. In order to get well she could not act like that one bit and she knew it. She could only live in the moment and stomp out any negative thoughts and repeat positive ones constantly even with the smallest things. Really a fascinationg read. It could help people like us.

  3. JT says:

    If tomorrow comes after today, then today must be after yesterday, I have found I don’t have any control over yesterday and tomorrow has enough worries of it’s own, let me live today while hoping for tomorrow and forgiving yesterday. I guess we have to apply the “Trim Tab” in this area as well 🙂 I wish you peace and rest in your thoughts.

    • Yes, JT, take no thought for tomorrow as it does have rnough cares of its own. Sounds like New Testament and I forget the “address.” Definitely a mother’s advice for a fretful child. Thanks, it helps her to hear it from someone other than me.

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