There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
—Zora Neale Hurston
That’s one of my favorite quotes. I stumbled upon it in a year that was asking a lot of questions. And I found genuine comfort in the idea that some day I would have the answers. It reminds me of another favorite quote from around the same time.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ―Rainer Maria Rilke
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about “question years.” And they aren’t always 365 day periods. Maybe you’re in one right now. It’s tempting, at times like that, to want the answer… to want to know that you’re on the right track or that what you’re doing makes sense.
But you won’t get the answer by stewing.
I remember talking to a friend once who had left the city and bought a house in the suburbs. In my mind, the purchase of a home was a big decision. This person must be fully committed to their new life. They must really be “all in” about leaving the city and staying in the new town for the rest of their life.
But my friend explained it rather differently. This was just what they were doing “for now.”
That always stuck with me. I am someone who often gravitates between extremes and the idea of being able to flow through big decisions with ease and approach them with both logic and whimsy, grace and joy, reason and emotion… well, it seemed divine.
And that’s when it hit me. We’re all just perpetually moving through seasons of our lives and perhaps the best thing we can do is enjoy the one we’re in.
Maybe we’ll get our answers tomorrow. Maybe in 12 years. Maybe never. But in the meantime, we can live into our questions. We can know that some moments are really just about what we’re doing “right now” and we can identify what we want to take with us in the next chapter and what we want to leave behind.
May all our seasons be filled with questions and answers and may we learn to embrace the dance.