I love mysteries. From the time I began reading on my own, I gravitated toward mysteries: first Nancy Drew, then Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle. My husband and I continue to read and watch mysteries covering topics from historical to crime to espionage. Maybe my penchant for asking “Why?” is at the root of this affinity. The challenge of figuring out a conundrum and the satisfaction when the mystery is finally solved.
But this is where I also get into trouble, as I not only question theoretical or created mysteries, but the mysteries of life. As a child, there weren’t many situations where my curiosity over the natural world around me were unanswerable: teachers could explain why the sky is blue and plants are green, why cats meow and dogs bark, why airplanes can’t be more like helicopters. As I grew, even the questions about why my parents made the rules and decisions that governed my life were fairly simple to understand even if I didn’t like some of them. I knew I could trust them and that their love for me was the motivation behind those decisions even at times when I didn’t understand them.
Moving into adulthood and then parenthood brought a whole new and endless series of difficult and puzzling events, many of which had no real answers, especially to the “Why” question. Why did I have endless problems getting and staying pregnant? Why couldn’t we live and work close to our families? Why were there so many of our relatives with emotional and addiction problems? Why was organized Christianity so dysfunctional? Why couldn’t we be doing more to really help the needy people in this world? And on and on….unsolved mysteries leading to discontentment.
Ultimately, as a Christian, the buck stops with God––since my faith is based on His being the eternal one who holds the world, my world, in his hands. So, why doesn’t He step in more often and makes things right––help those who look to Him and ask for help––ease the pain in this world? Why did our son get the gene combinations that predisposed him to addiction instead of the ones that would have predisposed him to the other family diseases like diabetes or heart disease? Why did he have to suffer the life of an addicted person? And, in the end, why did he have to die instead of gaining sobriety?
These questions have no real answers because they are unanswerable––regardless of your spiritual belief or unbelief. Yet, I realize that learning to live with mysteries is harder for some of us than for others. It is just how we are made. Accepting the mysteries of life––and death––is an act of faith that I have to choose by my will, not my understanding.
A favorite song of our son’s when he was young was “Mysterious Ways” by Kim Hill. The words still echo in my heart and soul and remind me that I am not alone. I have included the YouTube link for it below. Give a listen. I hope it helps encourage you as you face the Mysterious Ways of life on this earth.
Living in this game of chance
Driven by the wheels of circumstance––While at the hands of mercy
Balanced on a changing scale
How can life be strong and yet so frail––What is the deeper meaning
In my feeble mind I try to find a reason
Who knows why, it’s hard to say
God works in mysterious ways…..