“Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
“Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
These two quotes are probably my all-time favorites; the ones I come back to over and over. During my childhood, at the beginning of the cold war, we went through drills at school in which loud horns blew, and we leapt under our desks, or squatted in the hallway with our arms over our heads—as though our small desks, and our bare arms would somehow protect us from bombs. There were fire drills every single month in which the school bell rang in a staccato rhythm, and we lined up and filed out to the back of the playground, fast but orderly. In those days, we expected danger to come from the sky, or from within the building itself. Never did it occur to us that someone might walk in with guns and start shooting children. No one in the school had a gun, even though our area of the mountains was loaded with “potential black bears.” Different time, different fears.
The truth is, and has always been, that security is mostly an illusion. Life, when we were Paleolithic cave people, when we were nomadic tribes, and right now, is a cosmic toss of the dice. We humans are naked little animals with not much to protect us, but hope and faith. If we don't have those, we're in pretty scary circumstances. But, we do have them. We have this indomitable spirit that dares to feel potent, that dares to face hardship, to struggle and resist tyranny, and, if we have to, to band together and march in the streets until something changes. We have this incredible determination to make life better for all of us, even though it flies in the face of thousands of years of history. We push forward, one inch at a time.
I love that about us. It makes me feel secure. It takes away the dark-of-the-night trepidation that something terrible is about to happen. Something terrible may happen, but we're up to the task. We keep right on asking the questions. We keep trying to live the answers, and we do what we can to bring about peace—which is the only true route to security.
In the Spirit,