How can I go forward when I don’t know what way I’m facing? / How can I go forward when I don’t know what way to turn?
– John Lennon, from his song “How?“
It is often here, in moments of profound not-knowing such as John Lennon’s lyrics convey, that the questions themselves become fuel. Like bright trails leading to a small answer that then leads to another and another, we are powered and empowered by our own questioning.
I have been deeply in this place three times: in the aftermath of the death of my father, during a divorce, and while being robbed at gunpoint. These times were not times to give up or give in, rather the questions caterwauling in my brain that echoed Lennon’s questions were asking me to find people and spaces that supported me, gave me sustenance and inspiration in the face of not-knowing. I found them and they found me, at unexpected times, in unexpected ways.
John Lennon wrote this song because he was listening to his own questions. He also wrote “Imagine” and over 120 other songs, and co-wrote many more. To not give up or give in is to stay open to the questions that come our way, to end up singing at the other end of the trail.