Living the questions

December 6 | Jen Higgins-Newman

Participants in the Vocational Discernment Retreat in the Parlor at the Friends House

Dear Friends, 

This past week, Greg Woods and I held two Vocational Discernment mini-retreats (a part of our Vocational Resources project funded by the Forum for Theological Exploration). We held these retreats in a hybrid format with some folks in-person and others on Zoom. We had attendees from a wide range of locations, spiritual backgrounds, ages, and more. 

It was such an honor to bear witness to the participants sharing their own experiences and offering their listening ears and gentle, open hearts to support others. 

When I was at Vanderbilt Divinity School, I was given a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke’s collection of Letters to a Young Poet. This quote continues to be powerful to me, and we read it to folks in the retreat: 

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.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Greg and I don’t pretend to have all the answers — but what we know we can provide is a space for people to explore their own questions in community with others. These kinds of communal spaces are part of what the Friends House does best across all of our work. 

In addition to this brief message, I’m writing with Friends House announcements and upcoming events you can attend (from near or afar)! 

In Light and Community, 

Jen Higgins-Newman
BHFH Program Director