Rilke’s Jewel

I came across a word of wisdom-a jewel of sorts- in my reading this morning, from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet-a nugget that is so insightful I wish I had learned it early in life. The topic Rilke was discussing was literary criticism and creativity. Here’s the nugget:

“In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force it’s sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything ! 

This idea….this principle…this jewel is so simple, so obvious, but so easy to miss, in the face of the ‘want it now’ world where we live. And yet, how important for the writer, the student, the teacher, the pastor, the mom, the dad to know. In my own writing, and in my own public speaking, I’ve learned that to create takes time. One must think, observe, reflect, and wait-until thoughts, ideas, inspiration congeals, making it possible to put onto paper one’s insights or verbally communicate them to a congregation.

So I resonate with Rilke. Patience! Patience is everything, for all things come in it’s time!

How free from frustration we would be if we could only grasp this principle. Many a young person would do well to learn it; and many old men would benefit recovering it. I’ll think on this today…and tomorrow….and beyond, and probably memorize it, for looking back on life I see it’s truth in my writing self, my speaking self, my growing self. I’ve seen it, lived it, benefited from it, but could never express it as Rilke does here.