Sometimes I don’t know the why. Well, often I don’t know the why.
I sat on the porch with Mom this afternoon, and watched an older neighbor lady I’ve known my whole life edging her driveway. She started with a manual pair of grass clippers, and then a neighbor I never met before came with a power edger and cut into the lawn that was slightly over growing her driveway, making a sharp, neat break line between the sod and the cement.
He went all around the curb, too. And the neighbor lady followed behind him with a broom, energetically sweeping up the dirt and grass.
And I sat there watching, next to my mom, as I tried to have a muddled, broken conversation with her. And I wondered why some older ladies are still so alert and active that they care about their lawn edges, and why others struggle to have a conversation.
I held Mom’s hand and I said, “Mom, do you know that you’re my mom?”
She looked at me, confused, and answered, “You’re my mom?”
“No,” I said. “You’re MY mom.”
She still looked puzzled and repeated slowly, “You’re…..MY…mom…” And then she innocently asked, “Why?”
And I sat there, watching the neighbor lady, who is just a few years younger than my mom, making her driveway perfect…sweeping with diligence and attention. And I asked, “Why?” too. And I saw the perfect straight lawn edge. And I wondered why life could be so different for two elderly ladies living across the street from each other.
And I didn’t know how to answer the why. And it occurred to me that this neighbor had been living alone for years, because she and her husband were separated, and maybe she wondered herself why that happened to her.
I don’t know the why. And it’s clear that sometimes we don’t get to choose what problems we have in life. (Though some, admittedly, we create for ourselves and just have to own.)
So, what do we do with the “whys”? With the seeming randomness and unfairness of Alzheimer’s and other diseases and problems? Is it wrong to ask why? Is it lacking faith?
In the sermon I heard in church this Sunday, our pastor encouraged us to complain to God, but not about God. He pointed to King David and the Psalms and told us that God can handle our honesty. He will hear our hearts.
I look in Psalms and see in chapter 142, “I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.” And…”Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul.” And…”Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name.”
And I’m thankful for my God that I can be real with. I don’t have to pretend everything’s okay. He doesn’t even want me to. He knows this is hard. It’s hard to have Mom with me, but see her fading away. It’s hard to have a mom who doesn’t know she is a mom…who has no clue what that even means.
But my God is faithful. I don’t know why He allows AD. I don’t know why He doesn’t just wipe it off the face of the earth along with all other disease and heartache in the world. I don’t know why. But I know He is with me. And I know He will get us through it all.
So, maybe today I’ll sit at His feet and pour out my heart. I’ll tell Him all my troubles. I’ll give Him all my complaints and my “whys”. And then I’ll rest in His presence, knowing that he cares. Knowing that He loves me. Knowing that He’s my Abba, Father and that He will never forget that I’m His child.
I don’t know the why. But I do know the Father.