I never would’ve thought a quick trip for milk would change me forever.
It all began with a woman and her two daughters, standing beside me in the checkout line. The girls’ clothes were soiled, hair messy, and faces dirty. The mother, on the other hand, was neat and clean. Though it seemed she didn’t care how they looked, she had little patience for how they acted at the checkout stand.
Watching her out of the corner of my eye, I thought, Why is she entitled to healthy children? She couldn’t care less about her kids. And here it’s killing me that my child isn’t healthy.
When I got home I told Rick about the mom.”I just don’t get it. A woman like that doesn’t even care. Why us? We’re good people.”
Rick said, “Instead of saying ‘Why us’, maybe we should say, ‘Why not us’.”
My response was a surly, “What are you talking about?”
“Do you think you deserve a better life than anybody else?”
I just looked at my husband. Words formed in my brain — ugly words about how that woman didn’t deserve those girls — but nothing came out of my mouth. Rick was right.
There’s very little in this life that we deserve, either good or bad. Our precious daughter was a wonderful blessing that we’d never live up to. But the disease she had was a burden, and we didn’t do anything to bring it on. “Deserve” had nothing to do with either the blessing or the curse.
When I think about the various burdens I have to bear, whether it’s a child with tuberous sclerosis, an ailing parent, a devastating tornado, or simply never-ending laundry, I can’t ask “Why me” without also asking “Why NOT me?”
Why would I be exempt from the burdens of this life when they are just as much a part of the blessings of life, also.
I’m not. You’re not. No one is.
These days, when I get down and start asking why, I try to remember to add that one little word — not — and that brings my feet back to solid ground.
Why NOT me?