As children, we question everything. Why is the sky blue? Why do moths flock around lights? Why does she get ice cream? Why should I? And then the older we get, the less we ask why.
Maybe we lose our curiosity (a sad thought). Maybe our observation of other peoples’ exasperation (all those questions!) becomes keener. Maybe we get tired of hearing the response, “Hmmmm, I don’t know.”
Why, why, why. It’s been running though my mind so much lately.
A dear friend was dealt a really cruel hand, and I keep wondering: why her??
I’m finishing up The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which contemplates luck and fate and how one event in life can influence every subsequent one thereafter. And I keep asking myself: why am I so lucky? Why am I here in Paris? Why?
And then for the past few days, my relatives and I have been sharing all kinds of wonderful and loving and funny memories of my grandmother in honor of the 20 years that have passed since she died. She was the kindest, gentlest soul, as all these messages remind me. Despite having had a tough life, she never got angry or resentful or raised her voice to anyone. Even this makes me ask: but why? Why did she have this disposition? (And why don’t I??)
Why do things happen the way they do?
As I’ve been thinking about this—realizing more often than not, I just don’t know—I’m trying to convince myself that it’s okay not to have the answers to everything. That not everything has to happen for a reason. That sometimes life is about not knowing and therein lies some of the beauty and magic.
This brings some peace and relief. Let there be mystery. Be okay with not knowing. Resolve to live life to the fullest, regardless of how much of it is clear and certain. After all, how boring would it be if we always had the answers (like that annoying know-it-all in the third grade)?
But somehow this is still not satisfying. I still ask: Why her? Why me? Why not?
And the answers? Who knows. But whether we’re four or 14 or thirty-something, I think it’s important that we keep asking why. We might not get the answers we want. But then again, we might discover something—a memory, a friendship, a truth—we didn’t even know we were searching for.