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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Test Of Why

My daughter leaves tomorrow morning to go visit her dad and his family for the weekend.  She's had so many struggles in that area for so many years, she had a moment of venting to me and she finally looked at me and asked, "Why is it this way?  Why is this happening to me?"

We were driving down the freeway at the time, and I just sort of heaved a sigh and looked at the road passing beneath my wheels and said, "I really don't know why, sweetheart.  There's no good answer for that.  It's just the way it is."

Obviously, an answer like "it's just the way it is" isn't even good enough for an adult.  How many times in our lives (past, present, and future) have we asked why?  We never really get an answer to that question and most of us know that we won't have an answer even when we do ask that stupid question, but it doesn't stop us from asking it.  So then, how do we answer that question when our child asks it, and asks it specifically to us?

So in the silence, after I told her that it was just the way it is and she sat there in the passenger seat staring at me waiting for more, I decided that I needed to come up with something a little more substantial.  And what I came up with may not be perfectly sound but... coming from The School Of Hard Knocks, this was my response:

I truly don't know why things like this happen to you or happen to anyone.  I know that in my head and in yours there is a very simple answer, but it doesn't always play out that way in life.  Human beings are complex with complex thought processes and problems and baggage that they all carry and it screws with their ability to see.  And I know your dad, I know he loves you, I just know that there are some issues there that screw with his judgment and because of that you're in this space.  And I really don't know why.  I can't tell you why.  But what I can say is that it is up to you what you do with this.  It's up to you to decide the way you're going to respond to it.  

Try to view life as a teacher and you are the student, and you will be the student until the day you die.  Life takes turns and things happen that you won't expect and you will always have that moment where you ask why, but asking why won't ever give you an answer.  It just won't.  There really are no answers.  But if you view life like a student, you will have a moment, once you get past the sadness and bitterness, where you stop asking why and you start asking what you need to learn from this and how you need to respond to it.  If you view yourself as a student of life you will start to research ways to answer questions you don't have answers for and you will find ways to answer.  And sometimes you may be wrong, and when that happens you will begin again and search for what is right.  But sometimes you will be right and you will move forward knowing that you're doing the right thing for that particular moment in time.  And if I were in your shoes, I would tell myself that I love my dad but my dad is human and he is flawed, because all humans are flawed.  I'm flawed, you're flawed, everyone is flawed.  So if you can look at it that way, you can say to yourself, "My dad loves me and he may not even know what he's doing is hurting me, and because of that I will say my piece when it needs to be said and I will keep moving."  I don't know what else to tell you, Pretty.  I love you, I don't know why things are the way they are and they certainly aren't the way I would have them for you, but I can't stop it and I can't change it.  All I really know is that you're one bright and beautiful human being and I want you to know that as twisted as this may seem right now, I do know that your dad loves you, he's just a little lost sometimes, and you will come out on top of this game.

She did seem satisfied with my response (though I never truly know what's flying through that girl's mind), but I wasn't sure I was satisfied with it.

I thought about it for hours.  I ran through the various times in my life where I've asked "why" and Lord knows I've asked that multiple times.  I did finally agree with the idea that there never really is an answer to "why," there really is only an opportunity for growth and healing, depending on how we respond to it.  At least in my own experience, we have two choices: we can be victims that simply grow bitter and grow stagnate because we refuse to grow and change from life experience, or we can be students that view Life as a journey and an occasional test and we need to find a way to pass.

I choose to find a way to pass, and I pray my daughter finds ways to pass as well.

Now... what is your response to "why?"


  1. Your answer is perfect for a your daughter. The words are so true...

    Of course, we know the real world answer is that because we married a person that fooled us into thinking they were genuine, loving and caring. That led to us having the emotional expectation (not to mention wedding vows) that they would always be there. And, that led to us wanting to share the best part of life with them, which is having children.

    Then, as soon as the commitment is tested, they turn selfish, walk away, find a new love interest and the kids are left with the question "why?"

    Wedding vows should be:
    I expect that you will be tested in the worst way with financial problems, lust, anger, emotional disconnect, but I commit to never giving up on this marriage.

    I expect that you will have to wear adult diapers, be in a wheel chair, desperately sick, or depressed, I might have to wipe your butt, but I commit to never giving up on this marriage.

    I expect that your words will hurt me at some point, and you will not hear my heart cry, but I commit to never giving up on this marriage. (When that happens I will get your parents to smack some sense into you like your a 5 y/o so you understand my heart. )

    God is smarter than me and I will live according to His biblical principles. God designed marriage to be forever for a reason and I commit to never giving up on this marriage.

    You are not my idol. I don't need you to complete me. God completes me. We find a sweetness and joy in each other through God alone and will stay true to each other because of our mutual unwavering love for Him.

    Till a doctor signs my death certificate, and we part.

    1. Thank you. And I think, if I ever do decide to marry again, I may actually use these vows. ;-)