I find the following sampling of words to be profoundly comforting. Rilke's thoughts offer a meaningful way to contemplate our temporal existence. Here are parts of "The Ninth Elegy" from the Duino Elegies.
The Ninth Elegy
Why, if it's possible to come into existence
as laurel, say, a little darker green
than other trees, with ripples edging each
leaf (life the smile of a breeze): why, then,
do we have to be human
and keep running from the fate
we long for?
Oh, not because of such a thing as happiness--
that fleeting gift before the loss begins.
Not from curiosity, or to exercise the heart....
But because simply to be here is so much
and because what is here seems to need us,
this vanishing world that concerns us strangely--
us, the most vanishing of all. Once
for each, only once. Once and no more.
And we too: just one. Never again. But
to have lived even this once,
to have been of Earth--
that cannot be taken from us.
. . . And the things, even as they pass,
understand that we praise them.
Transient, they are trusting us
to save them -- us, the most transient of all.
As if they wanted in our invisible hearts
to be transformed
into -- oh, endlessly -- into us.
Earth, isn't this what you want?
To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there's nothing left outside us to see?
What, if not transformation,
is your deepest purpose? Earth, my love,
I want that too. Believe me,
no more of your springtimes are needed
to win me over -- even one flower
is more than enough. Before I was named
I belonged to you. I seek no other law
but yours, and know I can trust
the death you will bring.
See, I live. On what?
Childhood and future are equally present.
Sheer abundance of being
floods my heart.
~Rainer Maria Rilke~
(Photograph 2009 Bonnie MacEwan-Zieman)