Thursday, July 07, 2011

We Must Do What is Difficult

It seems I've followed this advice to an extreme in my life.  Just came across an interesting article by Jocelyn K. Glei of the "99%" web site. It is about something that wonderful poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, had written.   In Letters to a Young Poet he wrote:

from letter 7:

We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it 


From letter 8 re: embracing difficulty

If we only arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.

Looking back on my life of now 60 years I can see that I did this, sometimes to a fault, actually.  Sometimes taking more on that I could handle.  But it is the way I've lived.  One reason, beside my love for the subject, that I majored in Physics was because it was perceived as being very difficult.  Didn't have to go to the U of Va, either, to continue my studies.  My Memphis State advisor said it was out of my league.  I  made it through, however.  And so on. Just got back from a nine day business trip, wondering if I've taken on too much.   Sometimes now I feel I'm ready to get off the treadmill.    Glad to have read this for the pick me up.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey dad, I just wanted to say that I thought this was a very thoughtful reflection and that I think I have chosen to "do what is difficult" as well, especially here at Georgetown. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone and that many before me, such as you, have undertaken a life of difficulty and excelled.

Glad to see you on Google+ as well!

Derek

Steve said...

Thanks and yes, you have kicked it up a notch or two re Georgetown.

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