My first response was of mild and sarcastic disgust. Really, I asked myself? But the night was crisp and cool and I could feel the holidays gathering themselves up for their annual visit. I felt more than a little ashamed of my self-righteousness in the face of someone’s desire for magic, playfulness and maybe, even joy.
I continued on my walk, giving myself the gift of another of Krista Tippets’ podcasts. This one was a conversation with Joanna Macy, a fascinating woman who worked for the CIA as a very young woman during the Cold War, who later lived in India with her husband and family and was drawn by the wisdom and grace of Buddhism and who has been an ecological activist for most of her adult life. That was all interesting. But what was mesmerizing to me about the conversation was her work as a translator of Rilke.
We each find the way to light up the darkness. This was mine last night:
Go to the Limits of Your Longing
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
Book of Hours, I 59, R.M. Rilke translated by Joanna Macy