Beautiful Anxiety About Life

I have been reading, with all the care and intent I have in me, Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. I cried on the first page of the first letter. Cried, like I read what was written for me one hundred years ago, and time and space merged for this to happen. I read Letter Four last night. “… I am touched by your beautiful anxiety about life… here I feel that there is no one anywhere who can answer for you those questions and feelings…” We don’t get to read what Kappas questions, anxieties, or feelings are. All I get to read is Rilke’s reply. And I am certain they are not too far from my own beautiful anxiety about life. He goes on, “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 what is simple in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have the 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 you innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge.” 

My solution has been just that. I have digressed further and further into what is natural. I try to cook naturally, feed my family naturally and traditionally. I live in ways that others might seem what someone “poor” might do. I don’t wear makeup anymore. Maybe some mascara for an art show or powder for pictures, but that is about it. I work with my hands and by the sweat of my brow I bring forth good works into my home. I walk places more. To see my body naturally arrive at a destination, allowing my spirit to come with me. As I have come to know, my spirit travels at a walking pace, and if I go any faster than that, the anxiety, the loss, the loneliness, and the despair of being separate from my spirit, is evident in my life. 

My whole life I have had a memorized list of answers to life’s most important questions, and I can recite them on queue, in my sleep. Adam has told me that he is sick of answers, and I am not too far off on this idea. Rilke goes on in the letter to advice, “And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” In the end of letter he says, “.. be happy with your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend…”

My greatest resolve as of late is to be a great mother and wife. To refrain from selfish acts, and just get these things done. Before I took classes this summer I was reading Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, and I was in awe of this fantasy. I am going to finish reading it once I am finished with Rilke. I am young, changeable, passionate, and I am going to live without answers for a little while longer. 


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