As a kid, I questioned everything from why I had to make my bed to who painted those pictures of Jesus and how did they know what he looked like to what is tapioca. Imagine my annoyance after I went to the cupboard and found the ingredient list on a box of dry tapioca contained one word: tapioca. I didn’t have Google to explore farther and my questions often annoyed the adults around me.
I felt alone.
When I hit my teens, asking why about many of the rules of the strict Mennonite sect I grew up produced countless clashes. Strict discipline was seen as the way to make me shut up and obey, but it only added to the questions no one wanted to hear.
I was frustrated.
With time, books provided some answers and I left that culture, realizing many of the rules were simply based on traditions. Connecting with another church opened the door to more books, resources and answers. But it wasn’t long until the questions started again. Mostly to do with God’s unconditional love for everyone. My questions weren’t appreciated.
I was embarrassed.
I tried to stifle the questions and fit the mold. After all, many brilliant and kind people seemed to be content with the status quo. I stuffed, ignored and pretended I was someone that I wasn’t.
I was torn.
Then my world almost ended. Literally. I almost lost my leg and my life in an accident. I hovered between life and death for two days. I woke up twelve days later to discover horrific injuries over half my body. My world had changed and I had to learn to live with a new normal of pain, limitations and a deformed leg.
Questions about why it happened hounded me. Yes, I asked why me, but I also asked why anyone? My pain was significant, but I knew many others in the world have more pain than I did. Why does anyone have to suffer, especially children? Is this love? What could I have done to avoid this? And if this happened, what would happen in the future?
I was paranoid.
I had questions about God’s love, about his promises and about the connection between God and humanity. Being frighten and vulnerable from all the changes in my own life caused me to magnify the disproval I felt from others when I broached certain topics. So I vacillated between ignoring my questions and trying to find answers.
I was depressed.
Thoughts about ending my life scared me enough to go for counseling and thus began a long journey of renewal. Renewal of mind and renewal of spirit. Of realizing there’s nothing wrong with me because I ask questions. It’s part of how I’m wired. It’s how I learn. It’s part of what makes me, me.
Along with embracing my questions, I learned to embrace mystery. If God is everything and is everywhere, it’s audacious to think he could be contained in doctrine, traditions or concepts that I can comprehend. So I’m now content living with mysteries and I know I won’t find answers to all my questions, but that’s doesn’t mean I need to ignore that part of my DNA.
And now I have peace… and it is good.