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.
“Along with embracing my questions, I learned to embrace mystery.” I like that. I think that’s faith!
I found ignoring the questions didn’t work, so only by embracing them and the mystery surrounding them could I find peace. Wishing you the same!
Learning to embrace the mystery. That keeps us seeking to know Him better, yes?
You’ve inspired me, Janet, in your pressing on. They said it couldn’t be done, but you did!
Thanks Sandra! I have one life and I don’t want to waste it, so I’ve decided to be the best me I can be. And I hope others do the same… continue pressing on because life’s too short to be miserable.
Brava, Janet. This is wonderful and true and important. I, too, am a questioner by nature and I, too, have learned to embrace the mystery more and more. There’s a great quote by the poet Rilke about the importance of questions. Do you know it? It’s from “Letters to a Young Poet,” and goes like this: “You are so young, you have not even begun and I would like to beg you, dear one, as well as I can to have patience with everything that is unsolved in your heart and to try to cherish the questions themselves, like closed rooms and like books written in a very strange tongue. Do not search not for the answers which cannot be given you because you could not live them. It is a matter of living everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing it, one distant day, live right into the answers.”
it’s supposed to be ‘do not search NOW for the answers….” sheesh. This is a complaint of mine about the new disqus – the small comment box that does not expand for reading what you’ve written. Sorry about that!
Thanks Diana! I haven’t read that quote before, thanks for sharing it! Love it and love the hope it gives in the last line.
Nicely written. I like it. I like you. Haha.
Isn’t peace the ultimate goal? And it is good.
I loved how well you wrote this and your spirit shines through.