Thursday, January 6, 2011

That Information is on a Need-to-Know Basis... and You Don't Need to Know.

In my youth, I developed a habit of asking “why” when I was learning. I didn’t just settle for knowing how to do something; I needed to know why I was doing what I was doing. It’s easier for me to learn that way. I can’t just blindly memorize steps with no reasons behind them. Ok, I can, but I won’t retain the information for very long. But, if I know that the reason why I have to cream the butter and sugar together first in a separate bowl is that if I try to throw all the ingredients into one large bowl and just mix them randomly, the cookies won’t work out… then I’ll never forget to do it. The same kinds of rules applied to math, writing, and even gym. I had to ask why or I’d never absorb the lesson.

In school, that worked out really well for me. I learned my lessons well, and when I had learned something new, I felt pretty good about it. So, naturally, I carried this learning process into life with me. Every day life, that is; personal life.

Whenever something would happen in life that I didn’t understand, I’d ask why. Who would I ask? Well, whoever happened to be handy and seemed to have an answer. Sometimes it was my parents, my siblings, my friends… but sometimes it was strictly between God and I. Most of the time, when I asked why, I got an answer that made sense to me. As a younger person the questions were fairly simple.

Why did girls stare?
Maybe they want to know where you got that sweater? Maybe they’re jealous?
Um, I don’t think so!
No? Maybe because they saw the boys staring?
Maybe…Why did boys stare?
You have boobs.

Then the questions became more complicated… and the answers somewhat confusing.
Why can’t I make my own decisions?? I’m THIRTEEN!!
Because thirteen is still a baby.
No it’s not!! I’m a WOMAN!!! Why are you trying to ruin my life???
Because I love you.

In adulthood… I have had infinitely more complex questions, and though I still ask the same group of great minds these questions, sometimes the answers are just not so easy to come by. The humans in my life are busy trying to answer their own questions. Being that we’re all seeking answers, we pool our knowledge and attempt to help each other find these elusive reasons why… and though there are so many wonderful theories, so many obvious ones, so many painful ones, so many funny ones… we never really know which are right, do we? So, we turn to the Almighty.

Recently… extremely tough questions have come up for me, and for some of my dearest friends. We’ve been desperately seeking answers. We seek them from each other, we seek them from those who confused us in the first place, we seek them from any source we can. Always, though, in the end, we find ourselves asking God…


…to the point of making ourselves crazy. Personally, I realize now that I’ve spent an awful lot of time wondering why, and feeling incredibly frustrated that no reasons I can understand have presented themselves. God has not answered me with any great sign. The shrubs in my yard don’t burst into flames and speak to me. I am not handed great stone tablets. Hell, God hasn’t even sent me a simple text message, and I KNOW He’s got an iPhone. So what am I to do?

Stop asking.
At least for now.

God's got us all on a Need-To-Know Basis, and right now, I guess I don't need to know. So, I won't waste any more energy on "why"... it just IS and that's that. I'll accept that the answer is none of my business, and move forward. Maybe the lesson is that sometimes when you question everything, you drive yourself nuts. Maybe not. Either way… it’s clear that sometimes "why" really matters, and other times, it just gets in the way of moving on.  

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