My youngest kid asked me “Why?,” again. My parenting adventure started twenty-one years ago and I have probably been asked that question a thousand-plus times.
Sometimes it is just goofy stuff, such as “Why do I have to use a napkin, when my shirt is so close?” or “Why do I need a glass when the bottle is practically empty?”or “Why can’t I pee in the yard?” “Why, why, why?”
I’m good with answering questions, which is part of my job as a parent. One skill I’ve tried to learn is when to say, “You already know why my dear,” without being condescending. Plenty of friends have had to do that for me when my questions take over!
It can be exhausting to repeat the answers ad nauseum. When they get older, the questions become deeper and much harder to answer. “Why do I have to study Latin and Math?” or “Why did so-and-so get cancer?” or “Why do some boys like other boys?” and “Why did Dad leave?”
The trick is learning how not to answer when I don’t really know. Sometimes there is no “right” answer. Not to rat out my boys, but they knew it really wouldn’t hurt to pee in the yard on the rare occasion. (Hey, they were little.) I just didn’t want them to! Some days my answers were more along the lines of, “because I want you to be civilized!”
As a Christian, friends sometimes ask me the big questions. “If God is good, why is there so much suffering in the world?” I will answer that question for myself, but wonder if that type of question from a friend is more of a lament? I have plenty of friends whom I could not bear to live without, as they listen to my heart’s laments at times, instead of trying to provide answers.
Other times, I am in need of an attitude adjustment. A little encouragement. A little inspiration. I try to remember that for the boys. I am eternally grateful for the community of friends I have that recognize this part of love.
To that guy who tagged me in his raging mad lament against God, blaming Him for all the problems in the world… I’d like to say…I see your pain. I also know, that you know that humans can be vile. You know that corruption and self-centeredness are rampant in governments from the East to the West. Yes, little ones are starving. I see your pain. Baby, you can close your eyes to the realities of life and blame God for all the shit. You can be pissed off and rage at the sky, that is your right. But, what a painful journey to take! No, I don’t have any answers for you. But I know there are other ways to look at life.
We can see the beauty of the seasons changing year by year and believe in a creative designer. We can remember the child healed in a loving adoptive family and know there are good people on earth. We can cry at the tragedies we see, yet choose to believe there were ten more tragedies prevented by divine intervention, we’ve heard the stories. Many people live each day attempting to heal all types of pain, all around us.
Sometimes, just like the kids, we don’t need answers to the why questions. We need to choose how to see. We need to choose honesty with our own mirrors. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sojourning with you. I have my days of raging at the sky and anyone who hurts my heart! I need my people who help me turn my face to the sun and let go of the pain and move forward. Maybe that is the best answer to all the questions, find people that help us to see well, stay connected and keep going.
(Images J Bluwater)