Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Loving the questions

I returned Finding Home to the university chaplain yesterday afternoon with the comment that I found it interesting but hadn't been able to locate myself in any of the profiles of Roman Catholics who joined the Episcopal church, even though there were small points I could relate to. Like most of those people, I've found it easy (maybe even surprisingly so) to embrace the Episcopal church. Where I lost them (and this could be a result of the author's bias) was that I didn't have any sense they found it difficult to let go of the Roman Catholic connection.

So here it is the last Wednesday in Lent and I am not any closer to resolving my dilemma. I did not, as I had hoped, find one church to settle in for the season. I did not, as I had expected, leave behind the Episcopal church where I have worshiped since the beginning of Lent last year. I plan to be there for the Maundy Thursday Eucharist tomorrow night, and again for my hour Friday morning in the parish prayer vigil. I expect to be there Easter Sunday, too, unless my family comes to visit, in which case we all will attend the local Catholic church together. I'm planning to join the inquirer's class at the same Episcopal church later this month, even though I don't think I'll ask to be received into the church when the bishop visits next fall.

And so I find myself wondering if I've made any progress at all this Lent. Maybe yes, because I feel more assured that I am where God wants me to be, no matter how hard it is for me to understand why I'm here? Maybe no, because I feel no closer to being in the settled place I want to find?

(I admitted to someone out loud for the first time ever yesterday that I feel drawn to priesthood, which obviously would have to mean priesthood in the Episcopal church. Whoa, boy, but we aren't going to go there now!)

Though it isn't really a prayer, I find myself praying Rilke's words:
Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given 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 answers.
  • Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Added later: While I was driving to work it came back to me that, like a good problem-solver, I'd just tried to evaluate Lent on the basis of how much "progress" I'd made. Not exactly loving the questions ...

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