Experience, Newness, and Mystery
I recently read a quote by Rainer Maria Rilke that stopped me in my tracks.
Before I stumbled upon this quote, I had been pondering in my mind the concept of me as human wanting answers from life and seeking to understand things. I have always sought knowledge and tried my best to penetrate the reasons for why things happen the way they do: why my dad was taken from us so soon, why my son Leo was created at a particular moment at a particular time, why the exact number of students are in my class, why friends and family are struggling. I wrestle to find the reasons why.
It made me think of how my son wanders around our apartment trying to play with everything in sight, and cries when he cannot eat cords and leaves. He doesn't understand. It seems silly to me, because I know from experience that cords and leaves can be dangerous and it's simple for me to wrangle them away from him. I get it. I understand what is food and what is not. I've lived it. But he doesn't! His little mind is still unfolding like a waterfall and trying his best to hold all the gushing information in, and that's how life is: a rush of time and color and touch that leaves us reflecting in the aftermath of it as we find ourselves faced with the next new challenge in front of us.
I remember all those times that I felt utterly defeated by life. Why did this break up happen? Why did I not succeed on this paper? Why didn't things work out the way I needed them to? It's a beast, this thing called experience. As Lewis says, it is that "most brutal of teachers. But, you learn, my God do you learn."
The stream of our life will inevitably hold all of these uncomfortable unknowns. Life won't stop in time for us to ponder them or understand them in the wake of their happening to us.
We keep moving forward, we keep seeking to understand, and little by little, the pieces of our journey will come together for us to behold in a new way. We learn to appreciate the wisdom that is our very self as it takes on each new adventure, each new heartache, and each new experience with open arms.
For, as Rilke put it so sublimely: