Ask and Receive
Year in Review 2017
This is the time of year when Santa Claus facsimiles abound. As young children clamor to crawl into their laps, the age-old question is heard: “What would you like for Christmas?” During Epiphany of this year we discussed the process of asking… and how many of us never do because of fear. After all, someone might just give us an answer we would not like. Instead, we wander around using only that which we already know, too afraid to learn something different.
“Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.” It may seem strange that I am opening with a quote from Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Lestat”. After all, this is not what most would consider a “dark blog”. It is more along the lines of “peace, love, and all things nurturing”. And yet ………
The most succinct summary of Rice’s second book in her vampire series says this about the book from which I took my opening quote: “When the vampire Lestat becomes a rock superstar, he finds himself in serious conflict with the ancients whose powers are beyond his imagining.” If you are really honest with yourself, could this not be a description of your life?
All too often we do not ask question because we are simply too afraid of the answers. Life Lestat, we do not want to open the door of more or greater knowledge. And so, we remain within our comfort zone, a place, as I have stated before, is not really a place at all. There actually is no address for our comfort zone except in our mind. The most accurate location for anyone’s comfort zone is simply “that place in which we feel less fear.”
Karen Hackel is one writer who talks a great deal about the verb “ask”. “The way is yours for the asking – the way is yours for the taking. The way is as it should be.” The way to enlightenment is there for us; all we have to do is have the courage to ask for it.
Faith Baldwin is another writer who speaks of this. “In asking for it, we ask for a sufficiency of strength, courage, hope and light. Enough courage for the step ahead–not for the further miles. Enough strength for the immediate task or ordeal. Enough material gain to enable us to meet our daily obligations. Enough light to see the path–right before our feet.”
Why am I only using female authors today? Truth is, I could not find a lot of male writers on this subject. I suppose this would be a good place to insert a joke about men asking for directions, or rather the lack thereof of men asking for directions. Perhaps, though, we do not allow them the space to admit they need to ask. Most of us hesitate because the world seems to expect us to know, not admit we need to ask. Even though they earn almost fifty percent less than their male counterparts and make up over half of the world’s population, women are still encouraged to be silent, to live as shadows in their own lives.
In his book, “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life”, Brian Grazer encourages us all to ask. “Curiosity—asking questions—isn’t just a way of understanding the world. It’s a way of changing it.” Don’t we all want a bigger life? Is that not really our reason for being? Perhaps the reason behind creation itself is for us to question and then, having asked, use both our questions and our answers to change the world for a better tomorrow.
There is an old Chinese proverb that gives us the right to take the plunge and ask. “He who asks a question remains a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever.” I will close with a quote from another woman, Oprah Winfrey: “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for”. Today I hope you ask because that will be the first step towards a better tomorrow.