Celebrated German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926) would have been 132 years old yesterday. While he was not a member of a Unitarian or Universalist church, his words are heard in many of them today.
This particular passage, from Letters to a Young Poet, is particularly inspiring to Unitarian Universalists in context with the Fourth Principle of our Association, “We covenant to affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”
For consideration: How do you approach your own search for truth and meaning?
from Letters to a Young Poet
by Rainer Maria Rilke
My dear Mr. Kappus: I have left a letter from you unanswered for a long time; not because I had forgotten it — on the contrary: it is the kind that one reads again when one finds it among other letters, and I recognize you in it as if you were very near. It is your letter of May second, and I am sure you remember it. As I read it now, in the great silence of these distances, I am touched by your beautiful anxiety about life, even more than I was in Paris, where everything echoes and fades away differently because of the excessive noise that makes Things tremble. Here, where I am surrounded by an enormous landscape, which the winds move across as they come from the seas, here I feel that there is no one anywhere who can answer for you those questions and feelings which, in their depths, have a life of their own; for even the most articulate people are unable to help, since what words point to is so very delicate, is almost unsayable. But even so, I think that you will not have to remain without a solution if you trust in Things that are like the ones my eyes are now resting upon. If you trust in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge. You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to 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. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within you the possibility of creating and forming, as an especially blessed and pure way of living; train your for that - but take whatever comes, with great trust, and as long as it comes out of your will, out of some need of your innermost self, then take it upon yourself, and don’t hate anything.
Source: from Letter 4 of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926).
, living faith
, Rainer Maria Rilke