One of my resolutions last year (maybe two years ago? who knows….) was to read more poetry. It worked. I seek out poetry now in a way I didn’t use to do. And the poet who has resonated with me a lot is Rainer Maria Rilke, particularly the Book of Hours.
There were many other poets I have read and enjoyed, of course, but something about Rilke has resonated with me in my journey this past year more than some others.
And so, as we begin this new year, I offer you a quote from Letters to a Young Poet, (which I know is not a poem.)
“Be happy about 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. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
For any of you who are seeking change in this new year, or for those of you who have found yourself in the midst of change thrust upon you unwittingly, I hope these words will be helpful to you as they have been for me.
I’m thankful for the companions who have accompanied me through times of change, but this quote reminds me that change is a solitary endeavor. The best we can do is walk alongside each other and show kindness and mercy.
As we begin this new year, know how thankful I am for you who have accompanied me through my changes thus far. And I hope to do better supporting others as they journey through that solitary process of change.