I’m constantly amazed at how books can fall into your hands at exactly the right time. To parrot Gandalf in the movie version of Fellowship of the Rings, “A book is never late! … Nor is it early, it arrives precisely when it needs to…” (And no, that quote is NOT found in the book!) That certainly seems to be the case for me with Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet as I’ve struggled through the changes happening in our family’s life right now.
Rilke is a big believer in letting life happen to you…
What should I say about your tendency to doubt your struggle or to harmonize your inner and outer life? My wish is ever strong that you find enough patience within you and enough simplicity to have faith. May you gain more and more trust in what is challenging, and confidence in the solitude you bear. Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right in any case. (Furnborg, Jonsered, Sweden, November 4, 1904)
If they had included the young man’s letters in the book, I’d bet my sweet bippy he would have whined just like me!
I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to do exactly that: harmonize my inner and outer life. I keep wondering how in the world I’ve been “fortunate” enough to be that way. (That’s sarcasm, in case you missed it…) My sister ridicules me for being a “deep thinker.” But somewhere I’ve gotten the idea that our philosophy is SUPPOSED to gel with our actions. So I don’t figure my attitude is going to change any time soon.
I did find this paragraph encouraging if for no other reason than I realized I’m not the only one who wanders around their psyche, their heart cave, seeking to literally “pull themselves together.” And though I determined months ago that was an impossibility, here I am still on that same quest.
I love this book. It’s like sitting down talking to an old friend — a very HONEST old friend. Maybe a Gandalf sort! And I guess there are a lot worse ways I could be spending my time. I know one thing, right now his advice is resounding in my heart as our daughter and her family move home and we all adjust: Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right in any case.