Why Ask Why?
“Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. French. Pascal. The heart has its reasons , whereof reason knows nothing.” — Madeline L’Engle
When my sons were little, ‘why’ was their favorite question. You all know the exercise – the repeated inquiry that dissects a question into the most inane and discreet detail; the exchange that lasts longer than one’s patience and ultimately resolves itself once the child loses interest in the game.
But age hasn’t tempered this query for me. I ask ‘why’ all the time – just not necessarily a loud (I say enough things a loud to perpetuate worry in those who hear me). Why do I know there’s wind despite my inability to see it? Why do I persist in my efforts to understand the puzzle of human behavior? And, with all that persistence, why can’t I at least figure out my own? Why do we establish expectations that are constructed as a house of cards? The only difference is that I have now discovered the answer.
These aren’t the questions for which there are more concrete answers. Reason doesn’t dictate the posing of such questions. Facts don’t satisfactorily assuage either, for these are just the surface results of queries that are too complicated to form in any sensible way.
Why does the heart want what it wants?
Because within the human condition is faith. Faith explains that which we believe to be true that we can’t see or explain. But we know. We know that there is such a thing as love whether or not our personal histories have experienced it, for our hearts ache for it sight unseen. We know that there are miraculous moments in a day – from the subtle connections that make you feel like someone just read your mind to the complicated ties that allow friends to ‘just know’ when something is up. The brilliance of a cardinal’s color on a leafless tree. Why did that one star begin to twinkle more brightly just as I was thinking of someone who is no longer here? Why? Why does the sunrise evoke promise and the sunset occasionally resemble the saddest colors in the world? Why was I lucky enough to learn that some of the most simple days are the happiest? Why do some people snort when they giggle? (Ok, I threw that one in there just to see if you were still with me).
And one of the nice things about being older is that you bring all the ages you have already been with you. So you know that ‘because’ can suffice. That there is a place for complex debate and study and philosophizing and a place for simple acceptance on faith. So today I accept the awesomeness of being here without further scrutiny. It just is. And if you are wondering why that in and of itself is ok with me? Because. Have a great day all.