Finding the Answer to "Why?"
Little kids ask a lot of questions.
When my kids were little, their favorite question was, "Why?"
A: "Because of the way the light shines through the atmosphere when there aren't any clouds."
Q: "Why is that?"
A: "It's just the way things work."
Q: "But why?"
A: "Science is why?"
Q: "Why Science?"
It would go on ad nauseam until I finally broke and said, "You know what, ask your mother." Or I would try to distract them by saying, "I'm feeling like some McDonald's. You feel that, too?"
The fascinating thing about how life works is that understanding the "why" for most aspects is probably the essential information we can glean to become flourishing human beings.
I like to think we're born with the desire to get to the "why." We forget to wonder about it the older we get.
You see, so many of us live our lives without ever asking the question, "Why?" We don't ask it about the work we do, the careers we've chosen, the beliefs we've assumed, the groups we join, the causes we support, or virtually everything we do.
Most of us never dig down to our "why." We don't do it because we worry about what might need to change if the answer to our "why" questions doesn't work.
For example, during a recent conversation that I was having with the senior staff of my church, we were talking about what we needed to do to connect more people to our congregation to grow our church.
One of the leaders was quiet and then asked: "Yeah, but why are we doing this? Why do we want to grow? It has to be more than growing for the sake of growing."
As we pondered that question, we concluded that our "why" was this: When you become a part of our church, you can experience transformation and grow in your faith.
I must tell you that one exercise changed the energy in the room. Suddenly, we all understood that we were part of something much bigger than all of us, and it felt amazing.
Pema Chodron wrote about this feeling and the need for a more extensive "why" in her book When Everything Falls Apart:
It's like waking up on a cold, snowy day in a mountain cabin ready to go for a walk but knowing that first you have to get out bed and make a fire. You'd rather stay in that cozy bed, but you jump out and make the fire because the brightness of the day in front of you is bigger than staying in bed. The more we connect with a bigger perspective, the more we connect with energetic joy.
I don't understand all that much about God, which may surprise some people--even though it shouldn't. But I've got an inkling about what God wants and how God works in our lives and the world.
If our "why" isn't connected to something far more significant than ourselves, it loses its allure and doesn't imbue us with passion. But I trust that God wants us to know beyond all doubt that we are part of God's great big plan of saving the world- each of us uniquely.
Today, ask your "why" question regarding your life's various aspects. Let the answer take you higher and grander than you've ever imagined until your "why" is connected to the Divine Dreamer, the Creative energy in all things, including you.
May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.