Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Why ... such a short, simple, little word.  The dictionary defines it as "for what reason, cause, or purpose".  Unfortunately the answer is not nearly as simple as the word.  When we lose a loved one we immediately ask why.  We want a reason for their death.  We want to know what purpose their death serves.  In the case of a suicide the need to know is even more intense.  We not only want to know why our loved one died, we also want to know why they chose to end their own life.  I spent a lot of time asking myself, my family, my friends, my counselor, and God these questions.  No one could give me an answer.

I wanted to know what I had done to deserve what was happening in my life.  I wanted to know if I was being punished for something I had done.   I wanted to know why I hadn't been able to stop what happened.  I wanted to know why God hadn't stopped what happened.  I have always been used to having some control and power over my own circumstances.  Most of the time I had answers to my own questions.  This time however I was helpless.  I didn't have power, control, or answers, and this made me mad.  I soon learned that not having an answer to this why question added to the anger I was already feeling. 

I knew Eddie was an alcoholic.  I knew he was suffering from depression over his inability to overcome his drinking problem.  I knew he felt like a failure for letting his family down every time he started drinking again.  I never knew it was serious enough for him to end his own life though.  For anyone who has never considered suicide the idea of choosing to end one's own life is beyond comprehension.  Through my counseling and the reading I've done, I learned that in most suicide attempts it is more about ending the pain than it is about ending the life.  Unfortunately when the suicide is successful both are ended for the victim, and the pain begins for those left behind.

Just as I wasn't sure whether it was OK to be angry at God, I also wondered if it was OK to ask God why.  After all, He does have the power and control, so if I asked Him why then I was questioning His wisdom, wasn't I?  I soon learned that while it was OK to ask God why, I had to be ready to accept that I might not receive an answer.  I had to be willing to accept silence from God, and that's a hard thing to do.  We pray for things we want, things we desire, and things we think we need.  We expect most of our prayers to be answered.  But if we are realistic we know that many prayers go unanswered.  We pray for safety for others, peace in the world, an end to hunger and child abuse, yet there are still wars, natural disasters, pictures of starving children and news reports of children being abused every day.  The only answer we have to these is that we have to trust and have faith that one day in another place we will either understand or lose the need to understand.  I eventually realized that having an answer to the why question wouldn't change anything.  No answer would be sufficient to ease my pain or lessen the hurt.  No one could ever give me an explanation that would help me accept or understand what had happened, so what was the purpose in continuing to ask?  So instead of asking God why, I had to start asking God to help me make my own peace with what had happened.   

"Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Psalm 10:1

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."  1Corinthians 13:12

No comments:

Post a Comment