WHY?!

I'VE BEEN THROUGH INTERROGATION BEFORE. It was seventh-grade. Unwittingly, I had been swept up in an organized crime ring. (That was my story then, and I’m sticking to it.)

We lived on the south edge of Tulsa, but in the Jenks school district. Jenks was then a thriving small town. Most of the stores along Main Street were open for business (before Wal Mart), except for the movie theatre which had long been shuttered.

One afternoon after school, I was invited to climb the fire escape on the back of the theatre building, to the roof where there was a hatch door into what was the projection booth. Word was, there was free soda pop there. What I didn’t know at the time was that the pop had been stolen off a Pepsi® delivery truck sitting at Parker’s Grocery at lunch time.

The fun lasted for several days until one day; boy by boy, summons were issued from the principal’s office, and the interrogation began: who, what, where, when, WHY. Claims of innocence fell on deaf ears. And Mr. Burchett’s paddle fell on my backside. Despite his prophecies, I have never served hard time.

Last week, (maybe in payment for past sins, ha) our two oldest Grand-Girls (six and three) came to visit while their parents took a well-deserved vacation. We had a great time, but by the time we watched the taillights of their mini-van disappear in the distance, I was feeling the weariness of interrogatives:

  • Why can’t I have an ice cream sandwich for breakfast?
  • When will it be my turn? Why?
  • What are you doing? Why?
  • Why can’t I have some of your special, old grape juice? (Just kidding)
  • Why can’t we swim when it’s lightening?
  • What’s a crispy critter?
  • Once, I rolled out the old tried and true: “Because I said so. That’s why?” To which the six-year-old replied, “Oh Pops, you’re silly.”

My last resort answer to the unanswerable “Why” was: “Maybe someday you’ll understand.”

 [graphic by Molly Hennesy]

[graphic by Molly Hennesy]

Saturday, we attended a memorial service for little twin boys, the children of some very, very special people. This memorial service was on what would have been the one-year birthday of their brother, had he lived. I am not making this up. Even as I type this, it doesn’t seem right in any sense of that word. This amazing young couple I’m sure, has been haunted by the question that they undoubtedly hear regularly from their beautiful three-year-old daughter, “Why?!”

I know they are people of deep faith, but I don’t presume to know what they are going through. There is no way I can begin to understand.

I do know this: for me, sometimes, faith doesn’t answer the Why question. It just says, “Maybe someday you’ll understand.”

God. I hope so.


Here are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs. It’s by a band called, Jars Of Clay. I encourage you to give it a listen.

SILENCE

Take, take ’til there’s nothing
Nothing to turn to
Nothing when you get through

Won’t you break?
Scatter pieces of all I’ve been
Bowing to all I’ve been running to
Where are you?

Where are you?

Did you leave me unbreakable?
Did you leave me frozen?
I’ve never felt so cold

I thought you were silent
And I thought you left me
For the wreckage and the waste
On an empty beach of faith, was it true?

Yes I, I got a question
I got a question, where are you?

Scream, deeper I wanna scream
I want you to hear me
I want you to find me

Yes I, I want to believe
But all I pray is wrong
And all I claim is gone

And I, I got a question
I got a question, where are you?

And well I, I got a question
I got a question, where are you?

Where are you?