#tbt: The Freedom in "Just Because"

This post originally appeared on August 15, 2016. 

When you ask a question, you expect an answer. Am I right? I don't know about you, but I frequently have questions for the Universe. Maybe I'm missing the point, maybe I'm a pain in my higher power's neck, but there are times when I shake my fists at the sky (years of conditioning have taught me that the sky is where the answers to some questions live, and it works for me) and ask, "Why?"

And I always, always get an answer. Don't you?

Many times, that answer is something affirmative that I already knew, and I just needed the small quiet voice inside me to validate it, so I project it onto the sky. Just as often, the answer is something I really don't want to hear and I just need to put the answer outside of myself, onto some unseen power's lips.

And then there is the answer that really just pisses me off. You may be familiar with it. In response to my shaking fists and roaring squeak of a voice, I get back, "Just because."

Oh, how I loathe the "just because." So dismissive of my inquiry. So insulting, to assume that I don't deserve - or worse, cannot understand - a real answer. It's become even more frustrating since I became a parent, for now I know the deep frustration that leads me to respond to endless questions with my own "just because." It brings up a little bit of fear in me, since so often my own "just because" is doled out when I don't have a better answer to give; if my higher power can't give me a better answer, is it because She doesn't have one??

Think about that for a moment.

And yet...

Looking at that vague reply from neutrality changes it. When I step outside of my anger and frustration and demand for a palatable (or even definitive) answer, I can see something beautiful in "just because." Maybe I'm projecting here - though truly, aren't we all? - could the lack of a definitive answer be an invitation to stop trying to define the indefinable? Could it be that "why?" isn't the right question, so the answer is to ask a different one?

 A solid answer can often require action on my part - it compels me to change my behavior in some way, or do something in response to the original question. Whereas the lack of direction, the simple acknowledgement of the question, does not seem to require anything further on my part. Changing the question, for example, asking, "What is my next step here?" will lead me to action. Very often, though, that question comes after the desire for an explanation. Sometimes, we need a moment to just rest and be in a situation before we can respond - which is why we ask "Why?" instead of "What?"

I can't help to feel some freedom when the Universe replies, "Just because." Perhaps asking the question is a form of bearing witness, and that in itself may be the answer I'm seeking. Saying hello to the pain, the suffering, the frustration that led me to shake my fists and cry out in the first place is the first step in healing it. Bringing them into the light diffuses those dark feelings.

Why? Just because.

Are you hurting? Go ahead, shake your fists and ask why. Keep asking why until you get to a just because.

And notice what happens.

Barbara HolbrookComment