Uncle Paul, the HNGR director at Wheaton College for many years and one of the most influential professors in my life, often said that life is a journey. His frequent caveat was that the journey itself is, in fact, the destination – moving and growing IS the purpose of life.
I see his wisdom daily in my journey as a teacher, teaching a growth mindset to my students. Having set goals and visualized plans for the future is great, necessary, even, but even the best plans can fall through, and even the loftiest goals can be shot down. If the destination is the only thing that matters, students tend to become frustrated with themselves to the point of giving up when faced with even
Life, therefore, is about taking every step as being as important as the final destination, and being present in our missteps, knowing that failure is just another step on the road to growth.
As I have learned about myself and my tendencies as a type 9, I have realized that I often tend to live in the future, to daydream, to wish for easy answers to the big questions. Another one of Uncle Paul’s most-repeated insistences is to “live the questions” and not worry so much about finding the “correct” answer right away.
I don’t remember if he shared this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke with us, but imagine my delight when I found a quote from the poet that urges a young writer to follow the exact same instructions:
From Brain Pickings
I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are 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.
I seem to have worked out a certain truce with my big philosophical and religious questions since college, but as I am taking steps to start changing my career, I want to know the answers to the “little” questions. The little questions, the daily debacles, the everyday errors, are more terrifying than the big questions, because of that urgency of the now and the immediate and seemingly irreversible consequences of every tiny step.
This blog is my way of making peace with the little guys, those everyday sticklers that keep me up at night. So cheers, ya