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. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. So you mustn’t be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand it will not let you fall.
The words above were written by the German poet named Maria Ranier Rilke. Those words long ago got my attention and are something I have used in my book “Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters And Life Stories”. While the words vary some depending on the translation you read the key elements of course remain. Beyond the words themselves one asks what exactly do they mean? They were written in a book called “Letters To A Young Poet” where Rilke is corresponding with a French poet named Kappus. Rilke explains to Kappus that sometimes what seems to be the darkest things in our lives sometimes creates something that is good and wonderful.
In fact before the quote above he says “We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we 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..”
When a person is having a hard time it is only natural to see only the bad and negative side of things. When events try us it is hard, if not impossible, to see a positive side of them. But that is what we have to do to endure the trials besetting us and obtain victory over the things that attack us. I myself have had to do this more than once. In fact that way of looking at things is one reason I completed the first book as I have written about elsewhere. Sometimes something bad begets something that is good. And thus as Rilke suggest to us I learned to love the dragons in my life and move on.
So when life throws up its next hurdle to you just remember what Rilke said: “… life has not forgotten you, … it holds you in its hand it will not let you fall”. Thus even in darkness light can be found if you are willing to try.