“it probably takes him the rest of his life to understand what had happened…”
This was the last line in one of my favorite blog followings today. As someone who highly values understanding, this sentiment is striking.
I’m not very old, but it seems like the older I get, the less I can hope to understand…about anything. How things happen, why they happen, and what will emerge as a result of their happening. Why people do what they do, see what they see, and believe what they believe. My limited perspective and skewed rational thinking skills have not proven capable of arriving at any isolated or holistic answers to any of the experiences or relationships I’ve encountered in my life.
If it takes a whole lifetime to understand, perhaps it’s not something any of us need to so obsessively strive for right now. If events and relationships can only be understood by their impact as experienced over the course of an entire life, perhaps we can be freed to actually live now, regardless of what we understand about any given moment along the way.
Rainer Maria Rilke writes about this process with insight and hope. As we live with questions instead of striving for understanding, he says, “perhaps then, someday far in the future, we will gradually, without even noticing it, live our way into the answer.”
Understanding comes from accepting – with great trust – a lifetime of living questions.