Living the Questions through Loss

by | Aug 31, 2015 | 2 Those Who Mourn

757px-Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_ProjectBlessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).
Love changes you.  Declare your love, and it will shape you.  You will never be the same.
Your love story started with questions that found answers. “What is my gift?  Here it is, my music, my time, my listening ear, my know-how, my presence, whatever it is.  And to whom do I give it?  Oh, this woman, this man, this child, this church, this neighborhood, or these scattered souls.”  What bliss to name your gift, to find the one who needs it, and to give!
But a time may come when you cannot give the gift because the cares of life fill your hands. Perhaps age or accident mars it.  You ask the heavens why.
Or a time comes when your beloved refuses the gift or worse, betrays you and leaves, or worse yet, dies, leaving no chance of giving and receiving ever again.  You ask the heavens why.
In hapless loneliness, you ask who you are now.  To the heavens from which the gift came with a call of your name, from which the beloved seemed to descend like an angel and slip into the ordinary round of your days, you ask who, who am I now, whom shall I love?
The starry heavens answer with their signature silence.  Shake your fist at them.  Job did.  And he was a righteous man.  You are in good company.
Then listen again.  The heavens mirror back a fact: In your anguish, you still love. Silence offers this affirmation: When you held and helped your beloved and entrusted your need for holding and helping, you lived questions.  Where are we going?  What shall we do?  How will I honor my beloved in the newness of today that cannot settle for all of yesterday’s answers?
You had to live those questions to know your truth in your heart even when answers eluded you or made no sense.  So it is now.  Live your new questions now, the why and the who, and do not close your ears in bitter resignation to the silent stars.
In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote:

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.[1]

As surely as you mourn, your love story is not over.  Live your questions, however painful, and dare expect them to lead you to beauty and a new joy.  That is the faith by which you always loved and love still.
1] Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, tr. Stephen Mitchell. (New York: Vintage, 1986).


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