In Life, There Simply are No Answers to All of Our Questions
At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.
In life, there simply are no answers to all of our questions. No matter how much we ask or wonder there will always be some that remain a mystery –
Who is responsible for this tragic accident?
What was the purpose in his debilitating addiction?
Where is the hope in their suffering and pain?
Why did she have to die so young?
When is the end going to come to this nightmare?
Sometimes we get stuck in our questions – the Why me? Why did this have to happen? Why is my life so bad? kind.
And sometimes, most times, when all we do is ask those kinds we become stuck in an endless, fruitless cycle of feeling sorry for ourselves and living in a place of deep bitterness and despair.
I don’t get it,’ Caroline said, bemused. ‘She’s the only one with wings. Why is that?’ There were so many questions in life. You couldn’t ever have all the answers. But I knew this one. It’s so she can fly,’ I said. Then I started to run.
Sarah Dessen, in The Truth About Forever
So often our questions are about the things that are not, the things missing, the things we do not have, instead of the things that we do. We focus on what is gone, what never was, what may never be. But we forget to ask about what is left, about what is, about might come to be. Our relentless focus on negativity and what we lack often keeps us from focusing, instead, on what we have and how we can use what we have for our very best lives.
Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.
Stroube writes this in the aptly named Caged by Damnation. Too many of us damn ourselves to cages of rage, of despair, of gloom, of cynicism, of resentment, because we choose to wallow and remain weak rather than find the path to thanksgiving and strength. Our deepest meaning in life comes not in the prisons that keep our pain, shame and discontent locked in, but in the release that comes in allowing ourselves to seek the promise and hope in our circumstances. No matter what our challenges meaning and purpose are found when we “own” our circumstances, embracing them and determining to create the best response to them, making peace with them and opening ourselves to joy.
The question is very understandable, but no one has found a satisfactory answer to it so far. Yes, why do they make still more gigantic planes, still heavier bombs and, at the same time, prefabricated houses for reconstruction? Why should millions be spent daily on the war and yet there’s not a penny available for medical services, artists, or for poor people?
Why do some people have to starve, while there are surpluses rotting in other parts of the world? Oh, why are people so crazy?”
Young Anne Frank was wise beyond her years. Her questions, without easy answers, have been asked in countless different ways throughout human history. Yet, in her questioning she does touch on at least one answer – making “prefabricated houses for reconstruction”. We have seen, always and profoundly, how even in the midst of human misery, destruction, violence and horror, there is always a remnant of us who still plan for, work for and continue to dream for restoration and stability again. There is something innate within us that compels us to keep trying, to keep going, to keep improving, to keep life going. Hope does not completely die. Hope cannot ultimately be extinguished. Hope is not a fragile thing. But hope is strong and it is real. And while we may be “crazy” in so many ways, we still live in hope. And hope is what gives us meaning, too.
In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.
As we write this tonight, we are watching the horrific news coming from Boston about the bombs that went off at the Boston Marathon finish line today. Many, many questions are being asked tonight, and right now there are few easy answers. Surely, many vital answers will come. But so too, many others will never be found. But at least when our questions cause us to reflect on our common human fears and remind us of our common human tears, there is comfort in recognizing our common human spirit that cries out in compassion and care. An answer that gives us hope just by itself.