Dedicated to Mrs. Patricia Craig, who dared to ask me a question as to why my writing couldn’t be on the New York Times bestseller list. Her audacity to love and see beyond what I can see gave me the courage to keep writing.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Grace who asked, “Why?”
She asked, “Why are some people hungry when there’s so much food at the grocery store?” She had Ding Dongs, Twinkies, and Pepsi (when her brother hadn’t drunk it all) in her home. “Why do I have to clean my plate because there are starving children in Africa? Do their bellies full if I eat a lot?”
Once when she went to 2nd grade her friend, Chris, had a hole in his jacket. She asked, “Why?” He said he had to get dressed by candlelight because the lights were cut off.
She asked, “Why do some kids at school not have underwear? Why don’t they have socks? Why are their shoes way too tight?” My mom and dad help me get a new pair when that happens to me, she thought. Dad even let me get a pair of violet shoes that laced up my legs once. He wasn’t too happy, but she was.
Some grew weary of her asking so many questions. Once, Grace saw Santa’s sleigh in the sky, but everyone else was asleep and didn’t want to wake up from a long winter’s nap to see! She wondered why.
As she grew older, she gave people food. She raised money to help neighbors have electricity, She and her friends helped people have transportation to their jobs, dialysis, church, or even to use their cars as a safe place to sleep when they had no home. She sent things to people across the world to help them have things they needed. She traveled to other places in the world where bad things happen to women and children.
Still, she asked, “Why?”
She learned that working two jobs (even three!) didn’t pay the bills when there were children to feed and that the government charges extra taxes to eat. That sometimes landlords charge too much rent for those who are sick or working just one job. There were too many bills to juggle, and people have to balance everything. She remembered seeing a juggler with lots of balls to toss AND a plate full of things on his head! Sometimes it’s like this for people in life.
She learned that some people are so stuck in the pain of the past that simply waking up and getting through another day is all they can do, and they need hope, love, and community more than just things.
Grace asked herself, “Why?” Why can’t I help people inwardly and outwardly? Why can’t I change things at the head of the stream so future generations have new ways of living? Where people can have the dignity and hope and love that helps us all live our best lives?
The best thing Grace did was find other friends who asked why too. Together, they created a team called “the QUESTioners” who were able to do amazing things and none of them felt so alone! Their quest was to ask why, and keep asking (alongside God) to make the world as good as it could be!
They went out to the streets and invited people who were living on the streets to come in with them to church for a meal and to share the love and hope they found through intentional community. They offered their church property to build a special place so people wouldn’t have to sleep on the streets after getting out of the hospital. They taught people not to reject others who are different from them…to take them into their hearts and love them.
They started to teach people how to deal with their pasts so that their futures could be better. To teach people how to care for their health and the health of others. To grow food and share with others. To share storebought food rather than throw it away.
To share is the best way to meet God in human clothing. And when the people started doing these things, others did too! They created a new way of life that transformed the world.
To question, “Why?” is the very best thing you can do. Because when you ask, God fills your imagination with ways to help that are lasting, not just quick fixes. You will find others who ask why, and you should stick close to them so you don’t feel lonely, and because you can do far more together than you ever can alone.
Remember, the biggest One in the world lives within you. The light of God is there. Stay warm by that fire.