I just wanted to know why oh why

By Courtney | 3 Rookie Marks »

I was thinking the other night, of the 5 w’s, why is the hardest to answer. The who, what, when and where, those are easy, but we can’t always answer the why. It’s the most elusive of them w’s; maybe that’s why it comes last in the order of the w’s. At a crime scene it’s the motivation for the death. It’s the backstory behind whatever has happened. It’s the reasoning that took you from point A to point B. It’s the most interesting part of the story, but also the most guarded.

Mom got this box of questions that are like, i dunno, topic starters if you will, something to get people talking at the dinner table. There were a few in there that really hit home for me because of my answers. The one that I’m going to share today is “If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?”

At first I responded “Why did I get diabetes?” Because that’s the biggest thing I want to know, but then I thought about it, “Wait, I can ask him anything?” Everyone rolls their eyes, “Yes, Courtney, Anything!” I rethought a moment, “Then why I got it doesn’t matter, I have it, a better question would be, ‘Why won’t He give us a cure?’”

Both my questions were “why” questions. Questions that I most likely won’t ever have the answers too. But the why’s came up again the other night in the book I’m reading “Burn This Book, Ignite A New Life With God” the question was posed: “what is one thing you constantly ask God why about?”

I may never know the answers to these “why” questions. But they’re the ones I ask the most, it used to be why I got diabetes that was asked the most and now that just doesn’t seem to matter why I got, now it’s why is there no cure, because a cure is what I want the most.

Of course, I can give you the who what when and where. I can even give you a why, but i can’t explain the why to the why (are you lost yet?)

who: courtney (me)
what: diabetes
when: june 1992 (no one seems to know the exact date)
where: long beach memorial hospital, long beach CA
why: the damn pancreas stopped working (this is what no body has the why answer to, why did it stop working)

Anyways, this was just one of my many thoughts over the weekend and it was further thought upon when these questions were posed to me in different situations, and then there’s the Jars of Clay line from their song Unforgetful You: “I just wanted to know why oh why”

Not knowing the why just doesn’t sit well with me most days, but it’s not like wondering why is helping me either…

3 Rookie Marks On I just wanted to know why oh why

  1. Excellent post. I wonder Why a lot on various topics. And no, I am not getting any answers, just a bunch of theories.

    ...said alli on February 11th, 2008
  2. Here’s a weird twist on the 5 W’s and hopefully this will come across in a positive manner as it is intended. . . .

    when I used to write for the military, they used to challenge us to get past the 5 W’s and consider the ‘So What’ Factor.

    When applied to your circumstance (and many others) this application could seem harsh, but the challenge with answering the So What question is not to take the words harshly, but to take harsh words and do a judo flip to find the positive opportunity in them. Life throws some tough and nasty crap at us, and this is intended to be a tough and nasty practice test for the real hard stuff.

    So for example, you might try and tackle the

    So What . . . is so important about getting diabetes?
    (on the surface that would likely be buying into the negative aspect of the words and not turning the tides on life)


    So What . . . are you doing about it?
    (now this gets at some much more positive stuff. You are first and foremost surviving it, second surviving it with flare, third working to raise funds to cure it and being a vocal voice in that direction)

    That’s all good stuff and you could probably go even further with that yourself.

    even more of a challenge could be

    So What . . . are you going to do next?

    So What . . . are you going to do to get others to get involved or do something?

    and maybe some more applications that I can not even think of.

    To circle back around to the Why should you use the So What approach or to put it in circular terms, So What is so important about the So What approach?

    When you work at this it helps the people that read your writing look past just your personal account and consider why the issue is important to them or why it should be important to them or why they should even read another word at all.

    Every time I have ever been challenged with So What? following an article I have always been tested very hard. Its not easy. Its frustrating. Its not an affirming question, but if you can learn to answer it before you are questioned. If you can learn to incorporate that answer into your writing, then people that read your writing will buy in to what you are saying and they might even do something with your words.

    That for you could answer the So What . . . are you going to do about it or to motivate other people? Answer the so what question and you might find or create an army of supporters to help you achieve your goal, not because you said so, but because you said What was SO important that they would want or need to do something.


    Hope that helped or made a lick of sense.

    When I learned the lesson on this one, I went through quite a bit of blood, sweat and tears ~ literally but I think it did make me a better writer. Maybe if I’m lucky, My so what . . . am I doing to make the world a better place might manifest itself just a bit in helping you to achieve your own goals a little bit faster or more completely or something like that.

    ...said brettbum on February 11th, 2008
  3. Brett,

    I can’t say how grateful I am that I met you in real life and had the chance to talk to you, I knew then that you were a man of wisdom and I’m even more grateful that you shared this with me. No one has ever posed this concept to me and it’s awesome, it might not be easy for me to answer the so whats, but as you said, it’s a learning process. One that I do hope I can start incorporating into my writing.

    Thank you for commenting and telling me what they taught you in the military, it’s a valuable piece of information :)


    ...said Courtney on February 11th, 2008

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