Probably one of the greatest struggles humans face is not knowing the future. It’s obviously a good thing because all hell would break lose if we did. If you ever saw an episode of the short lived TV show “Flash Forward”, then you will know that seeing the future did not help the characters, it created more problems for them. They faced the dilemma of whether to accept their “fate” or fight it, and some even tried to make it come true. It was absolutely shambolic.
We don’t know the future for a reason but that doesn’t make it any easier to make big decisions based on an unknown future. I know I have struggled with this a lot in the past five years. Recently things have started falling into place, but not without much prayer, discussion and research. Mixed in were many moments of dejection and frustration, while I was struggling with big decisions like “what should I do for a career?” and even heart wrenching ones like “should I marry this person?”
One of my favourite people to talk life, dreams and careers with is my wonderful friend Candace. She lives big and she lives real, and she often reminds me of her favourite quote by Rainer Maria Rilke;
“Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
This has changed the way I see and do life. I like answers, we all do. We like to have it all figured out and know what is next, but the beauty is in the not knowing and who we become in the process. Sometimes waiting is the best thing for us and it fosters virtues like faithfulness, patience and trust.
Questions are such a big part of our lives, for we can only see what is in front of us. The more time we are spending trying to answer them ourselves in all of our limited knowledge, the less time we have to learn. There is something to discover in every stage we are in, whether we want to be there or not.
I dare you; stare your questions in the face. Don’t be afraid of them or angry at them, but make them feel at home. Set them up on your couch with a cup of tea, a digestive biscuit and a smile. Sit yourself across from them and make conversation. Be kind to them. You don’t know how long they will be around, but I can tell you one thing for sure; they definitely have the answers you need. They just aren’t very forthcoming, but you will be surprised what some gentle coaxing will do.
The good news is that the questions won’t stick around forever (not the same ones anyway). Despite how treacherous it feels, we do come out the other side eventually. Stronger and wiser, hopefully! We all have questions, big and small, but we don’t need to have the answers. For perhaps the greatest beauty of life is that we can only live one day at a time.
So quit planning and resenting the lack of answers. Don’t rush or rebuke the process. Instead, try to embrace it and live in those moments, even if they involve tears. You will be okay. Before you know it, you will be living in the answer.
What questions are you grappling with right now?