This is a small essay about daily questions we may ask ourselves, and how we can focus on asking ourselves questions that will make us happy. I believe there is a deep lesson within it that we can teach our students. Any comments please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a question that I find my mind asking again and again. Every time I respond with an answer, the question just returns in another form.
The question is “WHY?” Just plain “Why?” Why is my life so hard? Why is my day filled with so many struggles? Why can’t I attain all those things I aspire for? Why don’t I merit the special children who I see others have? Why don’t I have their money, and why don’t I have their happiness? Why have my good deeds not granted me the life I wish I had? Why? Why? Why?
Now, just as continuous as these questions flow in my mind, are the immediate answers that form thereafter. It’s as if there is a prerecorded message that gets played in my mind every time the “why” is asked. It sounds like this. “No Boruch, you’re mistaken. The life you have is a perfect life. The perfect life for you. The pain you experience and the struggles you face are the best possible thing for you. The pleasure and joy that you see expressed by others are good for them and only for them. Every day in YOUR life is a day that is tailored just for YOU.”
Now, the truth is that this answer does have an immediate soothing effect. It removes feelings of anger and resentment. It counteracts the thought of “life is not fair.” It even creates a feeling of guilt toward asking the question of “why” again. But the fact is these answers don’t offer me a sense of happiness. They don’t cause me to feel very grateful about “my tailored life.” As much as I believe that this life is perfect for me, I still wish that I had a life that was tailored just for me without pain and struggles. And as much as I know that the joy that I see expressed by others is not meant for me, I still think, “If I was only them then a life of joy and happiness would be a life that was meant just for me.” And the sad truth is that as long as I am not happy and grateful with my life, I still wake up every morning starting a new day asking again and again one question: Why? It feels like this question is here to stay.
Until one day, it hit me. Instead of investing time and thought all day in trying to push away this question, it’s time for me to free myself. I will allow myself to ask. I’m not going to only ask this question about certain facets of my days, I’m going to ask this question about every part of my life. I will ask this question from morning to night.
And that is exactly what I do. As I open my eyes each morning I start of my day with “why.” Why did I wake up this morning? What did I do to deserve another day in this world? As I sit up in my bed and stretch my hands I ask “why?” Why was I given a body that can move so freely? As I bend down to wash my hands I ask why? Why was I given the privilege to be part of the chosen nation? Why am I given the opportunity to be able to do so many easy actions that will earn me so much reward? Why was I given a healthy heart that beats on its own? Why was I given healthy lungs that allow me to breathe so freely? Why was I given healthy kidneys that forever clean all blood in my body? Why was I given a family to share my values, and to love? Why? Why? Why?
And you know what? I don’t allow my mind to even attempt to answer these questions. I just ask and ask and ask. But I’ll tell you something fascinating. As I started to ask these questions of “why” I started to experience a feeling of happiness. I started to sense feelings of gratitude. But most of all I started to feel so loved. Loved by my Creator. All the thousands of underserving gifts I experience each moment feel like the deepest expressions of love from my loving Father.
I’m starting to realize that the life and love He gives me must be proof that He really wants me in His world. But then I start to ask again. Why? Why would the Creator of the entire universe want me, small me, to be a part in building His great world? I don’t have an answer. But as I ask, I gain strength. Strength to live life embracing every challenge and accepting every struggle with pride and joy.
I end by asking myself one more question. Why? Why do I deserve the opportunity to show my Creator that all the trust that He has in me is my greatest source of energy in all I do? And why do I deserve to love Him and only Him? I will ask this forever.