Answers

"I have an answer for your question, it is contained in this book."  Not every book has an answer for our questions, sometimes it is only in the real working out of life that we find our answers.  This means it takes time to find an answer and we shouldn't rush the process.  Maybe this is it, we have a culture which says we have instant solutions for everything:  aging, medicines, protection, being treated right at the store, or shopping online.  We think all things should be instantly solved, instantly and not struggled with.  Yet if we are really sensitive to our lives we might realize that only in struggle are the best things worked out.

Yes, to struggle means we're caught up in a mess for awhile:  a mess of emotions, people, things, and thinking.  Yet to really struggle with the question means we learn more about ourselves, the world around us, and God.  You can't substitute real struggle with words on a page and pat answers that may not even apply to our situation.  This doesn't mean that all words in books are not meaningful.  It just means that sometimes we have to get dirty in order to find an answer.  Sometimes that leads us to good read which causes us more struggle.

When I was in Clinical Pastoral Education (simply put Chaplaincy at a hospital, but so much more) I was required to write down my learning plan.  People were coming up with books to put on this and at first that was what I did.  The CPE adviser told me there were many ways in which to learn so my learning goals changed to more reflection writing and more of my own poetry.  These are the tools I still use to struggle and work some things out.  Because there is nothing that replaces learning about myself and God in the midst of a struggle.  Sometimes there are answers and sometimes there are more questions.  So why don't we live the question instead of the answer?