Don’t Ask Why


I’m a “Why” person.  I probably drove my parents nuts when I was young with all my questions.  I just feel like if I know Why something is the way it is, then it’s easier to accept the way it is.  If I know the history behind something or if I can see the sense behind a decision, I feel at peace and I can move on with my life.  But when the reasoning behind something evades my logic… it drives me bonkers.

In language school I brought my unique brand of annoyance into the classroom as I asked “Why” each grammar rule existed or where each verb irregularity originated from.  Finally one of my teachers exploded in exasperation, “Once you learn to quit asking ‘Why’ all the time, you will be much happier in Latin America!!”  The Life-Long-Learner in me was shocked and offended.

Six years later I have learned to keep my questions to myself and to isolate my frustrations with not having answers because AMBIGUITY IS PART OF LIFE ON THE MISSION FIELD.  My teacher was right.  If you can learn this hard lesson, you will be at ease here.  If you can not master this lesson, your life will be a constant misery.

lightbulbsLet me give you an example.  In our house we have these really modern looking, eye ball shaped lights in the ceiling.  They shine a spot light directly down, so there has to be a lot of them to light up a room.  When the first one burned out, we discovered that they are not the screw in type of lightbulb.  Each bulb is hardwired directly into the electrical circuit in the ceiling.  So to change a lightbulb, we have to call an electrician.

We also have a lot of power surges here.  So when one lightbulb burns out, the chances are that several will burn out at the same time.  Each bulb costs about $5 to replace, plus the cost of hiring the electrician.  Because of all this, when a bulb burns out, we just learn to do without.  We had gone without light in the kitchen for so long that now that we DO have lights again, I keep forgetting to turn them on.  When it starts getting too dark in the house to do anything, then we call the landlord and ask him to get his electrical guy out here.  The last time he came out he replaced 12 lightbulbs.  The next day 2 of the ones that he DIDN’T replace burned out too.

burned lightbulbWHY?!?  Why would anyone build a house around such expensive lightbulbs!  They bought “the very best” in lighting fixtures, but totally skimped on the baseboards and wood trim- half of which isn’t even stained!  (Seriously, two sides of a doorway will be stained and the third is forgotten or only half way done.)  Clearly this was not a well thought out plan.

Well, I could tell you a million other stories like this where the Why behind something frustrating continues to elude my mental grasp.  But the point is, this is just life outside of America.  Our American school system fosters this kind of curiosity in us as children.  We are encouraged to ask questions and make connections and plan ahead and draw conclusions based on our observations.  These skills don’t serve us very well in a society that often lives day by day and focuses on the here and now.  It’s a different way of thinking and it’s a hard adjustment to make.

I have discovered in this process of bending my mind to another form of thinking, that I have reaped a spiritual benefit in the process.  Now I can more easily accept the verses where God teaches us not to worry about tomorrow.  “I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:25, 34

Photo credit: <a href=””>Thomas Hawk</a> / <a href=””></a&gt; / <a href=””>CC BY-NC</a>

Photo credit: <a href=””>szb78</a&gt; / <a href=””></a&gt; / <a href=””>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

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