On Struggle, Difficulty and Love
(Video version can be found on my Facebook page – Peggy Smith Wellness, October 18th, 2018)
My thoughts are quite deep this week and in the midst of these thoughts I recalled a book I read years ago which had some thought provoking passages – so I pulled it out and did indeed, find some comfort in them again.
Letters to A Young Poet is a collection of ten letters written by Rainer Maria Rilke from to Franz Kappus in the years between 1903 and 1908. Kappus was a young man in military school in Austria who describes himself as a poet stuck in a military world and he seeks written counsel from Rilke after reading his poetry. After that first letter, where Kappus admits “I found myself unreservedly laying bare my heart as never before and never since to any second human being” a written dialogue began that spanned five years (in other words, they were really legit pen pals). Kappus published the letters because he believed they were too valuable to keep to himself, their insight and encouragement would reach countless others if he shared them. They certainly had an impact on me, and I thought I would read to you three of my favorite passages in the hopes they might offer encouragement or insight to you.
These passages are on struggle, difficulty and lastly, on love. These topics are close to my heart this week as so many in our city and more markedly, in those cities that neighbor us, are dealing with true devastation and loss from Hurricane Michael.
There is struggle without a doubt, families are facing loss in ways they might have never imagined – but I also see so much love pouring into those communities, and so much compassion for fellow human beings.
“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside of you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from that which is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.”
“Don’t be too quick to draw conclusions from what happens to you; simply let it happen. Otherwise it will be too easy for you to look with blame… at your past, which naturally has a share with everything that now meets you.”
“For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another, it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world for himself for another’s sake… it chooses him out and calls him to vast things.”
As always, the transcript of this will be posted on my website if you think you might need to read the words to really dwell on their meaning. I’ve included the link for you.
My hope for all of you who hear this is that despite whatever might have happened to your homes or your yards or how many days you were without power – your families are safe and you feel loved by your friends and communities.
If there is anything I can do for anyone who is a Deep Thoughts Thursday listener who has been impacted by Hurricane Micheal – please let me know!
Until next time friends,