Have patience with everything 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 to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now, and perhaps someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet
Translated by Stephen Mitchell
I’m looking for the face I had before the world was made.
For me, life is all about the search. That’s why I think the questions we ask can often be more important than the answers. The word question is derived from the Latin quaerere which means to seek. And who among us isn’t doing that? What we seek is often as varied and changeable as the seasons, with each of us striking out on our own path, blazing our own trail. I like that. I like knowing that my way doesn’t have to be your way, though I must confess to a rather vague certainty that we’ll all end up in the same place eventually.
And while our paths are as singular as we are, I believe we’re all seeking answers to some of the same fundamental questions. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we all set out in search of our own true identity, our own face. I think we search too for someone to love, and for happiness and meaning.
For me, one of my most profound moments came when I realized that though my circumstances had changed with the onset of my illness, my quest had not. And it was questioning that allowed me to see this truth and forge a new path. Along the way I learned too that many of the really important questions can be hard and painful, and have no easy answers – like the one I’ve been living with now for quite some time: What if this is as good as it gets? When questions like this arise, I pay special attention because I know I’m at the heart of what matters. I know too that when the answer comes, if it comes, it will speak to who I am and show me the way forward.