Language Translation

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why? Oh. Okay. Why?

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the questions from your verbal child?  Do the questions come in endless spurts of curiosity?  Do you hear "why" more than any other word from your child?

I am, to this day, endlessly curious.  If someone says something, I always have some sort of "why" question.  It always starts out because I'm not sure I understand what the person is saying to me.  Then it becomes trying to understand their perspective and motive.  Then it develops into a desire to understand the deeper things hidden underneath that perspective and motive.  And it eventually ends at a desire to understand the core truth, all of the "doctrine of man" stripped away until I am just left with basic truth.

This level of questioning is not usually something I can do with other people.  I usually hit the tolerance button at about the 4th or 5th why.  People start to assume I am just being ornery or malicious.  Even when I express to them that I am in complete earnest, it seems to come across as a jest.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe society in general is so used to people hinting at what they really think rather than outright saying it.  This makes it rather frustrating for someone like me. 

I am often accused of being judgmental because of asking a question.  But I think it is because people are reading into it, even when I try to make it clear that I mean things at face value.  Sometimes there is this long pause as people look at me and try to see where the joke is coming from or where the trap is set.  They get offended by my genuine return of eye contact and my patience in waiting for their answer.

I ask questions because I have a problem or something I don't understand and I want an answer that not only satisfies, but helps me find the solutions I seek.

I assume that if someone is silent after I've asked a question, it is because they are thinking about it, weighing it out so as to give the best answer they are able.  So, when others ask me questions I don't think about whether or not they are waiting, I just think.  Many times they get impatient.  I can feel this impatience coming from them and find myself rushing to give an answer and my anxiety levels go up dramatically.  Then I frantically search for an answer and blurt one out.  Then I find myself stressed because I think about it and I want to change my answer, but it's too late and the topic has moved on and now do I interrupt them and tell them what I really think or do I just let it go by and let them think that I think something I really don't think......

(The run-on sentence was intentional to show you how my brain freaks out.  Hope it came across.)

And all of this may be over a question like, "Do you prefer fried or scrambled eggs in the morning?"  Every question paralyzes me because I have to be honest about it.  I have to consider all of the variables and all of the parameters that come within that question - and yes, there are many of them.  Literally, just typing the question my mind started going "But I can't really answer that question because I don't know how I will feel on any given morning.  Some mornings I get up and I can't eat any breakfast because I am too nauseated to eat.  Other mornings I feel fine until I eat eggs and then I get sick.  Some days I'm in too much of a hurry..."

Now you may be saying to yourself that those things have nothing to do with the preference of eggs, but it all does.  If I'm in a hurry I prefer scrambled because I can cook more of them faster and get my veggies in with them and then eat as I run.  If I don't have any bread, scrambled is preferred.  If my stomach is upset I prefer neither.  If I know I'm going to have a stressful day I prefer fried, but only if I have the time to fry several eggs because I can't fry more than one and make them come out right....which brings on a whole new line of things to consider.  Are they organic, range-free eggs?  If they are that changes all of the above considerations.  Are they made at home or am I eating out?  If eating out, have to be fried...I can't stand restaurant scrambled eggs.  If they are made at home am I making them or is someone else?

Now, how long did it take you to read those two paragraphs?  And that is not 1/100 of the considerations and thoughts that immediately ran through my head as I began thinking about which type of egg I prefer.  And, I sit here, my brain paralyzed, thinking "I have no idea, I'd have to really think about it for a minute and get back to you on that."  By then, the person who asked the question as a conversation starter as we were sitting in a diner across from each other is freaked out by such a serious answer to such a "simple" question.

To me there is no such thing as a simple question.  That is a myth.  Every question has a thousand variables and each variable has a million side qualifications.  Now I can stop myself from doing that.  I can remind myself that this person couldn't care less about what kind of eggs I really like....but then I get into the ever-present quandary of "Well, if they don't care, why do they ask?  That's ridiculous!  What kind of a person begins a conversation with something they don't care about?  Isn't that setting up the conversation to be one that is filled with tedium and watch-watching?"

See, when I ask a question, it's because I want to know the answer.  Yes, that is correct.  I WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER, THE HONEST ANSWER.  There is no hidden agenda.  There is not subtle trickery.  There is no asking to trap you and make you think I'm leading you down a slippery slope.  I'm asking what I want to know.  It's truly that simple. 

So now we are brought back to the why.  Maybe you can clear something up for me.  Why do people ask things they don't care about?  Why do people spend SO much time on things that are pointless and meaningless to them?  It seems a waste of good time.  It seems like they value themselves so little and everyone else so much that they are willing to do whatever just to have a conversation with a total stranger who means very little to them and will mean just as little, if not less, when the conversation is over.  It's like they are just practicing their English (or whatever language) on each other, just to make sure that they can still use the language properly.

I cannot answer questions quickly because my answers are honest.  As I started to say above, I could do as everyone else does, but it causes so much stress.  I have to bottle in who I am and I have to pretend like I don't care and it doesn't matter when I do care and it does matter.  So there is stress either way, the only question is, will I be me, or will I supplant me for the fake shell of nothing that everyone expects me to be.  Since I live in my world alone anyway,  I'll take me, thanks.  If shallow is all your reality has to offer, I prefer the solitude in the vast expanse of truths that go deeper and higher than imagination can fathom.  No offense, but thanks all the same.  I prefer to be me.  If me is too tedious or too detailed or too....whatever for you, then I wish you the best all the same.

I have been studying Ancient Biblical Hebrew in my recreational reading time.  I have made a study of the word "why" in Hebrew over the last few weeks.  It is a fascinating word and is full of so much meaning.  In Hebrew each letter has 7 layers of meaning, so words have so many more things in them besides what the word actually represents.

Here is a very brief, very, very, very, very condensed paragraph about what the word "why" means in Hebrew...on just one level.  What I have written about the word as I have studied it is nearly 40 pages, single spaced and a size 10 print.  So yeah, it's a lot.  But I'm only putting in one short paragraph here, that I feel will give a small level of meaning to you about what the word "why" means to me, and to those who are similarly disposed.

So we learn from all of this the purpose of this word.  “Why?” is not an inappropriate or wrong thing to ask, when asked with a desire to understand.  It is a heart that understands and yearns for wisdom that then seeks understanding at the source and is rewarded with 3 levels of wisdom (meaning the three levels of creation i.e. Spirit, Physical, Spiritual) and the ability to “behold” God.  It is the means appointed to seek the highest form of charity – the expression of one’s thoughts and emotions to another.  What greater evidence of God’s love is there than His eagerness to share with His children all that He is the moment we seek?  He shares how He feels about those things we are seeking (Isaiah 29:24) and then we come to know Him because He shares His innermost thoughts and feelings with us. 

What do we learn from asking למה?  We learn the nature of God, our relationship with Him, His plan for His children (both general and specific) and His desire for each of us to let Him tell us who He is for Himself (Isaiah 24:13).

In the end, I prize understanding more than just about anything.  Which means I prize questions.  Which means, above all, the most wonderful word in the world to me is "why?". 

*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.  If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.  I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.  I am not a professional.  This is my perspective and experience, that's all.  If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*

1 comment:

  1. Tara, I find you fascinating! I really wish our families had lived closer while we were all growing up!:)