Questions without answers: exploring themes of longing and trust

I’m reading To Shake the Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins.  My friends bought it for my birthday; it’s about a guy who reaches his thirties and realises he hasn’t really lived, so he’s never really discovered much about himself.  He drops everything and leaves his comfort zone firmly in the rear view to bike from Oregon to Patagonia (his rear view being figurative, because bicycles don’t have mirrors, though sometimes I think it might be better if they did). 

The book sounded right up my street, but what unnerved me before I even started to read was how many of my own longings seemed to be reflected in the blurb (and how transparent that must be for my very good and observant friends to see this and think I might like the book).  I do feel like I’ve been on somewhat of a quest over the past couple of years, not in the sense of a physical journey, because I have two children, a dog, a plethora of house plants and occasionally a husband to take care of (he’s pretty good at looking after himself and requires minimal watering, unlike the rest of them), but an inner journey in uncovering more about myself and delving into the big questions, even the ultimate question (I’m not convinced the answer is forty-two).

For much of the book Jedidiah has a companion, Weston.  In the chapter I read a few nights ago, aspects of Weston’s personality chimed with my own in a slightly uncomfortable way.  Weston is the kind of guy who’s always trying new ways of being in the world and then discarding them.  Jed surmises this could be because Weston is trying very hard to make the world make sense.   I can feel a bit like Weston sometimes; that I’m searching for something, trying new things on for size with the vague hope that if I could just find whatever ‘it’ is, then an unnameable longing would be satiated.  But I’ve also felt like Jed, who’s faith affords him a level of trust in the world and his place in it. There have been times when I’ve experienced a deep sense of trust in the Universe; in this place of trust there is no longing or searching.  It’s a nice place to be.

Yet the questions always seem to come back around.  Maybe the question I should be asking is: can I enjoy the questions without the answers?  If I can accept mystery as part of life, and find that sense of trust in a greater plan (I don’t know who’s plan, but I’m pretty sure there’s a plan somewhere, even if it is ineffable), then maybe I can replace the longing with curiosity; the desire to know with a thirst for exploring all the possibilities; and a belief that wherever I am in life right now is where I am meant to be.  This theme reoccurs in my poems.  I believe it’s that deeper part of myself that is the universal consciousness letting me know that I haven’t missed ‘it.’  That ‘it’ is in fact right here and now, in this very moment, along with everything else I’ve been searching for. 

You were sold a false dream, it may seem like a trick, but it’s part of the path you see.
For where you are now is – as always – right where you were meant to be.

Wise old snail, Happy Trails
Photo by invisiblepower on

It feels like so long time since I’ve written a blog post that I was beginning to wonder if I still had it in me. But here’s the thing I’ve discovered about writing: turns out it doesn’t get done if I don’t sit down and write. Funny that. I was halfway through unnecessarily changing the bedsheets today when I had to give myself a talking to: leave the bloody washing and do some writing, before you forget how! So here I am. Also it turns out that whilst it may seem like a lifetime, it’s only been twelve days since my last poetry post, fifteen since my last blog; as the hitchhiker’s guide says: don’t panic!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post.  I’m hoping to do some more of this ‘sitting down and writing’ business on the weekend, so I can serenade you with a rhyme on Sunday.  But if you can’t wait until then, please explore my back catalogue, I’m sure there’s plenty you haven’t had the opportunity to read, and some of them read just as good a second or third time, so make yourself a cuppa and get comfy.  Be sure to leave a like, enter your email to subscribe and feel free to share.  You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

13 thoughts on “Questions without answers: exploring themes of longing and trust

  1. This is awesome Rae! And it actually happened to me. I was in my thirties when I started noticing how people went their entire lives but never really lived. So I attempt to go out and do things as much as I can.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, I like your quote and agree with it even if I have balked LOUDLY about not being where I thought I was supposed to be. In the end it all works out, which is one of those life lessons you have to absorb into your soul or else be miserable all the time. Happy to see you back to writing blog posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ally, that’s very kind of you.

      Haha it’s a tricky one isn’t it? We have so much we want to be and see and do, how can we possibly be where we’re supposed to be?

      But as you say, if we can accept that here & now is where we’re meant to be it actually opens us up even more to all that’s on offer, not least our own contentment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You can enjoy the questions without the answers. I like the story the physicist, Richard Feynman, told when a student asked him randomly why sticks of dry spaghetti always broke into three pieces, not two, when pushed at each end. They went and bought several packs of spaghetti trying to work it out mathematically and ended the day with a table full of little spaghetti pieces, but the solution eluded them. He didn’t seem to mind this though.

    There’s a village in Patagonia whose native language is Welsh. I’m not absolutely sure there is a logical plan. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Curse my need for it all to make sense 🤣 Perhaps it really is chaos in motion, or so complex a plan we’ll never see it anyway, either way it’s good to accept the not knowing.

      Love the spaghetti story (I may have to put it to the test) and I have to visit that village in Patagonia, how amazingly random!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is great Rae. “ Can I enjoy the questions without the answers “…..? No, not really, but I see the value in that and will try harder to truly believe we are where we are meant to be at any given point. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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