The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Questions Asked and Answered

April 27, 2008

Questions Asked and Answered

Apparently, there are good questions and then there are bad ones. There are questions asked that beg more questions, and then there are questions asked that you never want to hear the answer to. There are also questions where there are no answers. Those questions are the ones I like the least.

I ask a lot of questions, I always have. Some have found this quality endearing, others find this trait draining and yet others have simply chosen to avoid me altogether. My questions sometimes sound like those of a two-year-old. "But why?" I find myself asking, sometimes in my head and sometimes out loud. Another question I ask often is, "Why not?"

I don't do this to be annoying. Unlike the two-year-old, I do have a great reasoning skills. I ask these questions because I genuinely want to know. I always want to know. Because to know is better than not to know. To know gives me direction, a game plan, ability to make decisions. To not know is hazy and murky. There's no where to go when you don't know. Or rather, you can go places, but you might find yourself stumbling around a lot in the process.

Except I'm learning that there are questions with no good answer. I've been told that these are questions I should not be asking because they will lead to more questions with equally no good answers, or they will bring answers that are hurtful and destructive either in their blatant truth or their blatant lies.

Again, I wrestle with this. I know the truth can sometimes hurt. Should I then choose to be selective about what truths I hear? I also know that lies hurt. But how would I know what a lie is if I don't know what the truth is? And when I get to this point, I feel like the Village Idiot, running around, asking bad questions then being shocked by bad answers.

In any case, I've been told to stay away from these questions as apparently no good can come from asking any of the following:

"What's there not to like about me?"
"What's wrong with you?"
"Why don't you miss me?"
"What do you mean I'm not great?"
"Do you find me exhausting?"

Yes, I know, four of those five questions are about me, and one of them implies that I am better than you. Yes, I know these questions reveal my own insecurities, doubt and selfishness. But when I ask them, I'm not doing it to illicit compliments or praise. I want to know. I want to know because it affects me and how I relate to you. And I know more often than not your answer will be disappointing to me, not because I thought I was perfect and you were wrong, but because I expected better of myself and I was working to be likeable, missable, great, and life-giving. (Although sometimes, I genuinely do think there might be something wrong with you.)

Perhaps there are better ways to ask these questions, and that is part of the work I do on a daily basis. So one day, when I do ask these questions again, I'll be able to do it in a way that isn't so shrill, so doubtful, and it won't look like I was trying to illicit a compliment to boost my self-esteem.

But believe me, I'll want to know your answer. I'll always want to know.

1 comment:

madeforjoy said...

I must admit that it is an odd and curiously painful thing to feel as if you have not been missed... that the substance of life shared with others seems to have not mattered. I've shed a few tears on that myself. But I can also say that God is good and brings new community... perhaps this is why in God's family there are always mothers, fathers, sisters, aunts, brothers, and uncles to be found.