Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. –Seneca
As I sit here on 30 December, 2019, I pause. I reflect. I consider. As I look back on this past year I have experienced more ways closing than opening. As I look ahead to the new year that will present itself to me in two days I find myself searching — searching for. . .for what?
I am thinking of a Quaker concept: Way Opens & Way Closes. Am I searching for ways opening and am I open to embracing ways closing? Am I open to discerning ways opening and am I open to discerning ways closing? Is being open enough? Is there something(s) that I must do? What will guide my search – or is it ‘who will guide my search?’
I love questions so perhaps there are a few questions that might help guide me today. Let me think. . . Here are four; I call these essential life questions. These have no final answer; they are companions that travel with me on my life’s journey. As I hold them I am thinking of Rainer Maria Rilke’s advice to the young poet: ‘Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.’
Some ‘perhaps.’ Here are my four questions:
Who am I? What is my ‘essential’ nature – my ‘true’ nature and how do I find it? I have choice so: Who am I choosing to become? Why am I choosing this becoming?
What do I love? What I choose to love will help shape who I am and provide the threads that weave my inner and outer life together into a seamless fabric.
How shall I live, knowing I will die? From my first breath I have been traveling a life journey that will end, now sooner rather than later. Someone once determined that a long life is about 744,600 hours thus far I have lived more than 664,000 hours. Have I lived less by ‘accident’ and more by ‘purpose’? A disturbing question for me to hold.
What is my gift to my world? I am unique. My contribution, my gift, to my world therefore is also unique. What is it? What is the gift or legacy that I am called to give to my world? What have I received from my world? How do I balance the two – giving and receiving? Some think of this as ‘life’s purpose’ or ‘life’s call.’ Some liken this to the sowing of seeds as in: What are the seeds I have sown these many years? This is another disturbing question that I hold.
Gentle reader, as you live into this last days of this year, what questions emerge for you? What are the questions that you are holding that will be your companion as you open the door and prepare yourself to step across the threshold into 2020?
And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been. –Rainer Maria Rilke