Margaret Ackland, Last Supper, 1993
When I was 19, I realized that I probably would never get answers to some of my questions, at least not in the timing I was demanding. In some ways, so many of our faith traditions declare the answer is “There” and we are tasked with attaching our lives to that “there.” But as we keep going, it becomes apparent that life is less “getting to the answer” than living with the live questions, holding onto their thread, their gifted hope, and it turns out that this is what leads to bloom after bloom of real life.
In true 19 year old fashion, I wrote out “You’re going to have to live out this question, Jacqui” on a piece of brown paper and then taped that to my bedroom wall. Imagine my delight when I discovered Rilke a few years later….
I still have to practice living in the questions. With the forming practices of community I can hold them and not be so alone. Right now, here are some of my living questions:
“What does God do with Power?”
“How are we choosing to now live with all our diversity that is not going to go away?”
“Whose voices am I hearing? Whose am I not hearing?”
“What story do I actually live out of?”
“What world is this story building?”
And my most honest one…”Where Are You In This?” –at least I can say, 21 years later, that I am never left alone in the questions. Never have been. And letting go and trusting has never failed me yet.
This is less a prayer, than a coming-alongside of us who hope and continue to hold that thread, waiting for the bloom. It was submitted by my friend Greg Veltman who works to hold space for people of different faiths to engage, dialogue and connect – and it is good work.
“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