Do you ever ask yourself “Why Me?” I think there is a whole book about this very thing, “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” You hear people ask this question all the time. When things go wrong in our lives, when we lose a job, lose a loved one, get a scary health diagnosis, our minds immediately go to “Why me?” It’s as if our lives are on cruise control, everything is going smooth and steady, we are enjoying the view, and then we hit a bump in the road and we have to slam on our breaks, and the adrenaline is pumping and our heart is racing, and maybe we collide and maybe we don’t, and in those scary moments and times of fear we ask ourselves “why me?”
Today as I was getting ready to go to my doctors appointment to develop my radiation plan I clicked on Facebook and read a blogpost that my friend had shared. It was heart breaking. It was written by a beautiful young woman, a wife, a mother of two. This woman is a warrior as evidenced by her bald head crowned in a soft cream scarf. She is stunning, yes she is physically beautiful, but what is so remarkable about her is the joy in her smile and the love in her eyes. And her blogpost was devastating. It was a raw and brutal announcement that her life is most likely coming to an end. It was a gut wrenching and peaceful surrendering, not to her cancer, but to living in the present and making the most of every minute she has with her family and friends. As she still asks us to pray for miracles and healing, she is waving the white flag, not to give in, but to allow her to put down her weapons and spend her time living out her purpose. She is truly a warrior and she’s fighting to leave this world with love and legacy.
And I cried, I sobbed, and as I climbed in my car to head to the Cancer Center I asked “why me?” Why did they find my cancer so early? Why was I able to avoid chemo? Why am I now cancer free? Why do I have my whole life ahead of me? WHY? It’s not fair. My tears were filled with gratitude and guilt, joy and fear, love and anger. Why is this sweet woman saying her good-bye’s while I am celebrating my future.
Implicit in the “why me?”question is an issue of fairness and justice. It’s that somehow we believe we don’t deserve the hard. Yes, we see hard all around us all the time and when it slaps us between the eyes we scream “it’s just not fair!” And it’s not fair. As I repeat often to my kids, “life is not fair.” Fairness is the ideal we all strive for, it is how we want to treat people, it is how we want to be treated, but this life we all live is not fair.
And the “why me?” is not just a question to be asked in the hard but also in the good. The “why me?” I’m asking myself right now is not why did I get cancer. It’s also not why did I beat cancer while a woman just like me is facing the end. The question is “what is my purpose while I’m here on this earth?” “Why Me?” I don’t want to go back to a life on cruise control, only stopping to reflect when I am forced to slam on my breaks due to the danger signs ahead. I don’t want to drive aimlessly with no real direction or destination. I want to search for the answer to “why me?” as a catalyst for living each day with intention and purpose. I want to stop using the question as an inaccurate measurement of how fair or unfair life is and start using it as a motivator to live joyfully and effectively in the present.
Will you join me in praying for this precious soul I have never met. Her name is Nadine Lewin Wall. As she struggles in the hard, pray for peace. As she deals with the pain, pray for healing. As she grieves the loss, pray for comfort. As she spends this precious time with her family, pray for more. And then reframe the “why me?” question. It’s true, life isn’t fair and life isn’t easy, but oh how thankful I am for each breath of this life. Think of the “why me?” question as a gift in both life and death to help us realize we have purpose and value in the hard and the good and everything in between.
This is a photo from Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I love the way Gaudi designed the windows to reflect the colors and light. What a beautiful gift and legacy he left for us to enjoy. It’s a sacred space of beauty.