Wandering and waiting

I have some big things to post about this week, but tonight feels a bit more quiet for me.

The last year of my life has brought a lot of significant changes, especially since I finished graduate school in January. The transition has felt a bit like my life being taken apart, bit by bit. Sometimes this process has been deeply lonely. And sometimes it has been deeply healing.

A few weeks ago, I moved out of my lovely little apartment and haven’t yet moved into another one. (Have I mentioned my generous friends?) For now, I’m wandering and waiting, piecing together the next steps of my life. I’m always amazed at how much humility I learn while wandering. Lately I’ve been learning a lot about how to be alone with myself, to find peace in my own rhythms. I’m learning (again) to be comfortable living out of a suitcase, both metaphorically and literally. I am learning how to lean (at least a little bit) into the present moment.

So tonight I thought I’d share some words for fellow travelers, metaphoric or literal, who feel a little lonely and tired of the in-between spaces. Wherever you are, wherever you’re going, you are not alone.

Thus, as always, Rilke. Words from his “Book of Pilgrimage”:

I’m still the one who knelt before you
in monk’s robes, wanting to be of use.
You filled him as he called you into being–
a voice from a quiet cell
with the world blowing past.
And you are ever again the wave
sweeping through all things.

That’s all there is. Only an ocean
where now and again islands appear.
That’s all there is: no harps, no angels.
And the one before whom all things bow
is the one without a voice.

Are you, then, the All? and I the separated one
who tumbles and rages?
Am I not the whole? Am I not all things
when I weep, and you the single one, who hears it?

Listen–don’t you hear something?
Aren’t there voices other than mine?
Is that a storm? I am one also,
whipping the trees to call to you.
Are you distracted from hearing me
by some whining little tune?
That’s mine as well–hear mine as well;
it’s lonely and unheard.

I’m the one who’s been asking you–
it hurts to ask–Who are you?
I am orphaned
each time the sun goes down.
I can feel cast out from everything
and even churches look like prisons.

That’s when I want you–
you knower of my emptiness,
you unspeaking partner to my sorrow–
that’s when I need you, God, like food.

… Whom should I turn to,
if not the one whose darkness
is darker than night, the only one
who keeps vigil with no candle,
and is not afraid —
the deep one, whose being I trust,
for it breaks through the earth into trees,
and rises,
when I bow my head,
faint as fragrance
from the soil. (Book of Hours, II, 3)


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