March 26 2018
In addition to making things matter with choices shortly after death, Alan Wolfelt, an author, educator and grief counselor, says that one of the needs of mourners is to search for meaning and “make it matter.” This search can involve questioning your faith and spirituality, asking “Why?” and “How?” and looking for purpose and meaning in your life. Wolfelt tells mourners to express this search outside of themselves to help find their way.
As I companion people involved in this search, I encourage them to be gentle with themselves and live the questions. I often quote Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters to a Young Poet:
I want to beg you as much as you can, to 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 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.
Many people living the questions do what they can to make things matter for themselves and in honor of their loved ones. Some try to live their best life; others try to make the world a better place. And others work to make a difference in the lives of those close to them.
A tool that can help you have conversations around what matters most is the Have the Talk of a Lifetime deck of cards. Please check our Gatherings & Events page for upcoming opportunities to learn about these cards.
(First printed in the Gazette on February 22, 2018)