When we learned to write and understand stories back in elementary school, we were taught to consider the “Who, What, When, Where and Whys.” Why did Charlotte write words in her web? ? Why did the story happen in a pigpen? The stories were fiction. I’m trying to write non-fiction based on everyday life. There are plenty of times I’ve considered those same questions as life has unfolded. Out of all of these question words, there is one that experience has taught me I don’t really need to ask much anymore. That question is Why?
If asked to conjure up a picture of a child asking, “Why?” you would have no problem doing so. They ask all the time. Why is there a moon at night? Why does your tummy have wrinkles on it? Why can’t I have cookies for breakfast?
Recently while speaking to some moms of teenagers, we discussed the question why. Was, “because I said so,” a valid answer? I thought we did need to explain the reason behind our choices. We did need to tell why. It helps our children to become better decision makers as we explain our thought processes we use when we make decisions. I appreciate that God has been gentle enough to show me the whys of some of the hard times I’ve experienced.
My mom divorced when I was two and remarried when I was three. I had a wonderful father that raised me, but I always felt different. I didn’t like that.
I moved my senior year. It stunk.
I wanted to be pregnant and couldn’t conceive for a while. It was so hard.
We moved and didn’t sell our home in another state for 3 years. I cried.
My mom died at age 63. She had aggressive brain cancer. I hate that.
Sometimes we never know the whys when we are living out a non-fiction story. I have been able to see why these things were truly for my best. I didn’t necessarily believe that when I was in the circumstances, but I do now.
Why would I say that these hard things were best? They built resilience. According to the book, The Only 127 Things You Need by Donna Wilkinson, resilience is one of the few things you really need. It can’t be developed unless you face challenges. You don’t know you have it unless you go through a hard time and make it to the other side. And knowing that you can make it through anything, allows you to have hope especially when times are tough. If you are a parent, this really makes you think doesn’t it? We spend so much time protecting our children from anything hard. We can still hate it for their crushed hearts when they have a disappointment, or have to go through a hard time of their own making, but we can be strong for them knowing that this experience is building something in them that they need to live. We wouldn’t think of not giving them nourishment or shelter. We need to allow them to face challenges, which are like vitamins keeping resilience healthy.
You pray for something, asking for your deepest desires and yearnings to come about. Things don’t go the way you planned. You have a decision to make. Do I believe that God is good? Do I believe He loves me? Do I believe He is not holding out?
As I look back and understand many of the whys of my life, I do believe. When you hear Natalie Wood repeat, “I know it’s silly but I believe” in the movie, Miracle on 34th Street, you hope alongside her, wishing her dreams into reality so her faith will be confirmed. They find the house she dreamed of. Her mom decides to marry the man that Natalie’s character wants for her father. Her hopes did come to fruition.
God knows the big picture. I do not. This fact helps me to still have faith even when I don’t ever understand why.
Looking back on hard times and seeing His orchestration of events for my ultimate good, helps me to believe – to have faith. I can begin to see the good in the hard, or at least to believe it is there. God doesn’t say IF we have hard times, He says WHEN you encounter trials have JOY. No, I’m not happy when I’m sad or mad or disappointed, but I can joyously believe that this will pass and is ultimately for my good. How do you know you have faith if it isn’t challenged? My faith is given a booster shot as I go through the living out the prayers that didn’t go my way.
So, when you are waiting in traffic, when your family fights, when your plans don’t turn out as planned, have faith. If you are tempted to ask why, answer with this, I am resilient. I can do this, and someone bigger than me is taking care of things.
My last post was 1000 words. This one is exactly 900. Why? One of the books on writing that I have read said that editing is your original work minus 10%. So 900 is it. Hoping for you this holiday season that your moments of crying out “WHY” are gentle ones and that they are reduced by 10% from last year☺