“It is my duty to help them solve the mysteries in their lives. That is what I am called to do.”
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
This morning I walked out of my front door to find that winter has officially arrived. My cardigan might just as well be a bikini for all the warmth it offers me. The cold that I have up to now been able to fend off by finding a sunny spot, putting on another layer or having a hot cuppa has finally found its way into my bones. When I get home later I will set up the heating.
No more denial.
That problem solved, I can move onto others.
This week has been less about finding something to inspire readers, and more about questions that plague my mind. I am a questioning child in an adult’s body. I cannot shake the sense that despite our having so many ‘answers’ at our disposal, we really don’t know much at all.
“Albert grunted. “Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?”
Mort thought for a moment.
“No,” he said eventually, “what?”
There was silence.
Then Albert straightened up and said, “Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ’em right.”
Terry Pratchett writes in his novel, Mort
A few years ago, in a low moment, I Googled “I give up”. It wasn’t a suicidal moment, rather curiosity. What would Google tell me, I thought? The answer? Nothing new.
I am plagued by questions that have no answers: I wonder why some couples battle to fall pregnant for no reason at all, while others effortlessly have child after child? I wonder why one man must be sentenced to 350 lashings for possessing home made wine? I wonder why a small boy with his whole life ahead of him must die early? I wonder why a friend with excellent qualifications has not found a job for over a year? I wonder why a South African man with no political bent or money is still in captivity with the Mujahideen in Mali while his family have waited since 2011 for his release? I wonder why so many beautiful, wonderful, eligible female friends of ours are still single when they have so much to offer?
What questions are you asking today? Unless it’s “How do I ripen my tomatoes late in season?” (actually Googled by me), I doubt Google has the answer for you. Perhaps some answers will never be answered in is lifetime. Should we still ask the questions? Like a small child who asks why the sky is blue, I don’t think it’s possible to just stop asking.
And like that small child, I’m not sure any of us will be satisfied with some trite, generalised answer. But let us not stop asking. Asking encourages empathy, it is the substance of intersession, an undeniably human experience. It’s the dialogue of life, it’s the seed of creativity, the engine of growth and learning. It is both the therapy and the blight of the soul, the conflict to be overcome and the beginning of resolution.
This week I pray that you get answers to some of the questions you ask and the ones that remain unanswered do not keep you awake at night.
For those of you who still desperately want to know “how to ripen tomatoes late in the season“, I can at least help you with that question – here it is – happy growing!