Ask yourself “why?”
The question why is part of the basic vocabulary, it’s a four year olds favourite response to most situations and as a child it’s an innocent and somewhat annoying but necessary question to ask. Why does the Sun go down at night? Why can’t I stay up passed 8.00pm? Why do I have to go to school? And each answer is met with a further “why?”. To every response follows the need to know more as if no reason is ever enough and the curiosity of innocence is something that is inexplicable. As we get older we learn that the sun goes down every night because the Earth spins because of gravity because it’s in orbit because a few billion years ago the universe came into existence and it just is. We can’t stay up because we have to go to school and we have to go to school to learn and grow and we have to do that because otherwise we may be four forever. As we get older we learn the answers and the question why becomes more personal.
Why did I just say that? Why did that person lie to me? Why did I believe them? Why did I do the things I did and hurt those people the way I did? Why do I feel this way?
These are questions that have no real answer, however this week I spent time in a place full of people that had the same question constantly rotating in their heads; “Why me?”. As I entered the small, cottage-like building I could see the varying degrees of people and each stage of “why” they were at. It would be unfair for me to name them but what I can tell you is the four people that I came into contact with knew more of why than any doctor or any professional I have ever met.
With why comes how. How did I end up here? How did I manage for so long? How do I move on from this? As we sat down to play monopoly in a true Breakfast club fashion, we talked and we listened to each other. The middle age tattoo artist who realised he couldn’t work feeling the way he did, the older mother who had been told to go by her therapist to go for a ‘genuine rest’ and the younger mother who had spent a lot of time battling with her own mental health yet still found time for her children. Then of course, there was me. To walk along a street and see the four of us together one would think that we were the most mismatched family that nature could produce, however as we sat there until the early hours of the morning we learnt that we were not that different. We all learnt something that night: sometimes a day is all you need. Sometimes all you need is someone that genuinely understands where you’re coming from and someone that isn’t going to tell you that everything is going to be ok because they understand that it’s not easy to see it. I learnt that you can never guess what a person is feeling or thinking without asking, some of the nicest people who are always funny are hiding behind it with an immense amount of suffering and most importantly, I kick ass at monopoly.
As far as the question why or how goes, I found my answer. As the Earth spins and the Sun sets at night there’s a gravity to everything we do. A gravity that pulls us towards the how’s and the why’s, it’s a gravity that keeps us rooted to our thoughts and the things we’ve done and let’s us stay attached to things that no longer matter. That force of pressure pushing down on those of us who needed a so called “genuine rest” is just there, it exists and it keeps our feet planted on the earth just like gravity. It keeps us spinning and as it makes the sun appear to everyone else that it’s rising and setting, so does it wIth us. Everyone gathers round to watch the sun rise and enjoy the day and they may even watch the sun set however the minute it goes dark people are all too quick to go to bed or shut themselves away. The truth is, on our sunsets, some of use need people who can stay awake and see us through to the sunrise.
So as we sit here and ask ourselves why or how, we’re left with the ultimate realisation that, just like gravity, something’s are the way they are just because. It exists for a reason, it happens and as we move through life we have to learn to spin like the earth and rise like the sun.