Do you know someone is fixated on that question? Why do I have to eat my vegetables? Why do I have to practice the piano? Why do I have to work so hard? Why can’t I sleep late?
When my kids were younger, they were fascinated with the question of why. Frankly, I didn’t always have a good answer.
“Why did my hamster die”, one would ask.
“Why do dinosaur bones smell bad?”
“Why is the sky Carolina blue?”
Okay, I do have an answer. I’m a Carolina Tarheel. So is God. I’ll confess like a lot of parents who don’t have the answers to all the why’s, my go-to response was “because I said so”. Yet, why is such an important question. It might be the MOST important one.
By the way, the answer to the question “Why do dinosaur bones smell bad?” It’s because they’re ex-stinked.
Our response to the question of why can answer the more over-arching questions of our lives. It can explain why we get up every morning, why we what we do. Let’s face it, we live in a day and age with more hows than whys. As my 21 year old son likes to tell me, one can learn how to do just about anything on youtube these days. Did you know from youtube videos, among other things, you can learn how to make a fire with a lemon, how to survive being buried alive, how to butcher a massive alligator, how to lose that wiggly arm fat? Again, we live in a culture of hows.
Yet, I believe that what we long to claim is not our how; Rather, it’s our why. A long time ago, a wise person once said, “The one who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”. A number of years ago, I developed a spiritual practice. Instead of going through my list of must-dos, have-tos, should dos and want tos, I remember my why. My why is to love God and love others. For me, it is really that simple.
In the course of any day, along with all my tasks and duties, I am open. If I receive an unexpected phone call, or an interrupted visit, I frame it in a spirit of openness. I shift my thinking from another have to, to a possible follow through to my why. If it addresses my why, I take it. If it doesn’t, I set it aside.
What is your why?