To Grow and Know
“With each encounter with truth one draws nearer to reaching communion with it.” — Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
What resonates? Doesn’t it change moment-to-moment as we ourselves change? As the world offers lessons, from subtle and brutal? Just what is our truth, our first principle?
We try to arrive by sorting. We must process the world as it comes to us, and indeed, encounter the things that challenge our worldview. Assumptions and beliefs fall aside for the willing truth seeker. We must find and embrace each encounter for all that it offers us. Like the body adapting to exercise, the stronger mind is capable of handling even more challenges. Each challenge in turn makes us stronger (if we don’t let them destroy us).
The truth is, we are alone on this journey. Surely friends and family offer support, mentors guidance, and those who came before us breadcrumbs to follow (or ignore), but this is our vision quest. We follow the winding path and see the changes in ourselves as we climb.
She has seen me changing
It ain’t easy rearranging
And it gets harder as you get older
Farther away as you get closer
And I don’t know the answer
Does it even matter?
I’m wonderin’ how
— Crosby, Stills & Nash, See the Changes
We ought to leave our own breadcrumbs. For the conversation to continue with those we love, and those we’ll never meet, we must draw from ourselves and leave it for the world to accept or ignore. It’s not ours to choose, but when we suck the marrow out of life and gleen the wisdom of the ages our voice becomes more compelling.
We won’t ever fully arrive at the truth. We might accomplish some noteworthy things, reach conclusions that resonate, grow closer than we ever thought possible to certain people while remaining dissatisfied and chagrined at the ones that got away… but we never will fully arrive. Still, we ought to be satisfied in the end that we gave it a go to grow and know. And to celebrate the journey wherever it leads us.