Blessed or Accursed ‘Why?’

15 June 2016

Blessed ‘whys’.

It’s a question that’s so common, so profound, so powerful in its expression and so difficult to answer. It’s a question that’s so true, so human, so demanding, but one which, by its nature, is difficult to deal with in words, it’s not expressed through the mouth, it doesn’t fit into words, it’s not something to express in front of an audience, much less is it answerable by single words from people supposedly in the know to others who are patently suffering. It may be the outstanding issue on which there can’t and shouldn’t be any speeches. It’s too deep for us ever to be truly aware of it. It’s too painful to for us to countenance as bearable. It’s too personal to be set in the firmament of public discourse. It may even be that this question hurts more than the occasion that gave rise to it. Because we all know that there’s no easy answer. Yet it’s so persistent and true.


‘Why me, God?’ The question rings in my ears and resonates deep in my heart. It’s the question of every parent whose child is suffering, or every person who’s been stricken by an incurable disease. How can this question be turned into the subject of a speech, of advice, opinion or response?

The question is continually posed and answered only with tears, not words, with feelings, not thoughts, with silence, not opinions, with empathy, not answers. What are we to do? Often the eyes are more eloquent than the mouth, sighing more profound than thought and a painful questioning is more expressive of the truth than any answer.


Why pain? Why injustice, why the children, why so soon, why in this way, why is the indescribable joy of their innocent presence succeeded by unbearable pain? Why? And if it’s for our unknown good, why is this good so bitter?

Why me?

What did I do wrong? Where do I start to look inside myself for the unknown cause? And if I’m to blame, can I not do anything to put things right? And what’s the reason that that innocent little creature should suffer because of me? That seems to me impossible to bear. I’m in danger of losing the little, weak faith that I have. In the end, what good comes of all this?

Why me, God?

Am I not your child? Aren’t you the God of love? What connection can there be between your love and my suffering? How is your scourging going to attract me? How’s your kindness linked to the inscrutable logic of pain, to grief, to the possibility of being exposed to something outrageous.

(To be continued)