Monday, September 15, 2008

The big question

You know, perspective is a might thing.

In the past month, one cousin lost his wife in a car accident. Another cousin has welcomed her new daughter, born at 29 weeks, only to find out she has a terrible birth defect that results in a life expectacy of 6-12 months. A friend is also spending her days at the NICU with her daughter, born at 28 weeks, coping with all the daily struggle that entails. And a coworker just lost his dad to cancer.

Sometimes it gets so hard to understand it all. It also seems easier when it's happening to you, because you don't have time to think about "why me?" or "why is this happening?" You only have time to get up, to face the new day and whatever challenges come with that day. You barely have time to think of the what-ifs, and you push the what-ifs to the back to conserve your energy for that day.

But when it's happening to someone else near you, you have the time to think about the whys. Why did this happen to them? Why did this happen at all? What's going to happen long-term? What can I do to help?

Another friend (sorry for the ambiguity) attended a funeral recently of a former student, who committed suicide. At the funeral, the minister said we are all sitting around here asking why...why did God let this happen. And he said that maybe, sometimes, we are like a impetutious toddler asking a parent why why why. And eventually the parent responds with "Because I said so." And maybe that's God's only answer for us.

But my friend took that a step further, because her usually answer to her son is just "because." And sometimes that's all we need. Sometimes the answer is too big for us to understand or too complicated or too painful to try to explain. Sometimes we just have to settle with "because."

Turning a little selfish, last fall this time I couldn't walk upright. My arms were too weak to type, much less hold my daughters. I couldn't complete a sentence without stumbling over the most simple words. I couldn't see clearly, and I had constant ringing in my ears. I felt I was slowly disintegrating. And I spent a lot of time asking why. Now, a year later, we still don't know why I was shutting down. But I know that I'm better now, that it all seems just a memory, and that I am changed for the better.

I hope and pray that all those going through suffering right now, especially those near and dear to me, can look back in a year, think of these tragic times as just a memory, and be happy with the progress made. And find peace, even without knowing why.

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