Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Sometimes, the best question is also the worst question. I suspect that is often the case with the shortest question of them all: "Why?"
Context is everything.
"Why?" can be a genuine inquiry into another person's thoughts or motives. It is a bridge to understanding, and maybe to new insight.
"Why (me)?" can be pretty much all about me, maybe even just a roundabout way of saying, "Poor me!" It takes me nowhere, but circles around the self-same center.
Lately, I have come to realize that the question I need to ask is that other-directed "why" that seeks to better understand where people are coming from. It is a pastoral why that puts me in the other person's shoes. It can correct my own misperceptions, or equip me, in St. Paul's words, to "instruct, exhort and teach" more effectively (and more as Jesus did!).

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