This morning I noticed that running a few minutes behind schedule on the way to to the car, Caroline's big brother, David, spied a snail as he took each step in similarly snail-like slooooow motion. It's been raining a lot and the snails are loving it. I think. Maybe not. Maybe snails are on the sidewalks because they're trying to dry off. Regardless, David watched as the snail stretched out his gooey body, then pulled his rear up into his shell with only his head and antennae poking out.
"Why did he curl up?" David asked in little boy fashion.
"I don't know," replied his mom, piling lunch boxes and tote bags into the car, along with beloved bear, fox and monkey. "Maybe he didn't like all the noise."
"Why?" asked David.
"Come on, let's get in the car."
With each why David took another step closer to the car, but kept his eyes on the snail, who was doing his best "I'm-a-brick" impersonation (like when Robert was little and played, pretend I'm a rock and try to find me.) The snail wasn't fooling anybody. Least of all a curious 3 year old stalling for time.
As I closed and locked the door, I couldn't help but side with David in his questioning. Why is the question that I can't keep out of my brain.
Last week I attended 2 funerals in four days. Still reeling from the sadness that comes with seeing good friends lose loved ones, I made the mistake of reading the local news online. It doesn't take much to send me into a tailspin, but the assault and murder of a child by a known sex offender who had only been out of prison for a month broke me wide open.
I did the only think I knew to do. I flung myself into Sweetie's arms, blubbered into his chest and asked why. Of course, I didn't expect him to answer me. There are no answers to most why questions.
Why do people die in the prime of their life?
Why do people go on living when their brains have, for all intents and purposes, shut down?
Why do people do mean things - especially to children, old people and animals?
Why does God let bad things happen?
If you know me, you are aware I tend to ask a lot of questions. I've been accused by some as being nosy. Sometimes I expect an answer. Sometimes I just lob questions to anyone who will listen, like a pop fly to an outfielder. Maybe he'll catch (answer) it and maybe he won't. Sweetie doesn't much care for my questions. He disregards most whys and what ifs. Other questions he answers "I don't know," in one of those tinny, robotic voices that makes him sound a lot like George Jetson's maid. But as my tears soaked into his shirt, he let me ask why til I ran out of breath.
Later, he wrote this on his blog
"Why doesn't GOD protect little children?"
All followed by heart wrenching sobs from Mary. It was folly to attempt answers at that point. Emotions so high, understanding so low.
Writing this I feel inadequate in being able to comfort my wife. I feel anger toward a man I don't even know for an unconscionable act beyond my understanding. I feel a crushing weight of sadness for a mother - for her family, for the pain they are now bearing. The guilt! I feel separated from a GOD so callous as to permit such evil in the world. Even knowing that we are only responsible for our own actions, that we are at choice is very little consolation.
Mary has gone to get her toes done. To see her friend Mary who resides in a nursing home. To cry and scream alone in the car, her self designed therapy. I'm writing to clarify my thoughts. We'll talk later. Attempt to reason out our feelings, to better understand our thoughts.
In part I will say to her; We are meant to live our lives in goodness to the very peak of our ability. We are not called to be co-counsel to GOD as judges to the rest of humanity. For us, for others who share a belief in GOD - a supreme being/purveyor of all that is right and holy we can only pray in gratitude for such a presence, while asking forgiveness for the sins of others too exquisite to fathom. jdc 6/13?
Some of Sweetie's personality flaws were pointed out to me this weekend (by someone obviously without flaws). I'm still sorting through my feelings on that front. I can tell you I felt angry and resentful. I also took a hard look at myself and asked a lot of whys. I'm one of the few people Sweetie shares his whole self with. I'm lucky that way. If ever I'm asked why I love him like I do, all I have to do is imagine his arms around me and say, "because." That's a good enough answer for me.
Do you have a favorite question?