Our kids are all grown up now but when they were younger they had one thing in common … they all loved to ask the question … why? It’s time to put the toys away … why? Time for bed … why? Dad needs to stop reading to you now … why? Apparently I was the same … what a surprise! Questions are such an important part of life. Here are some that made me chuckle.
How much deeper would oceans be if sponges didn’t live there?
Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why isn’t there mouse-flavoured cat food?
Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouth’s closed?
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
Answers on a postcard please.
But seriously being curious is such an important part of life. Let me give you an example from something that happened to me a few days ago. I had been staying in Brecon and when it came time to check out I simply asked the person who was serving me where they came from … it clearly wasn’t Wales! Sarajevo came the response. I mentioned that my only knowledge of Sarajevo came from the disturbing images I saw on the TV during the Bosnian/Serb war. ‘I was there’ she said, ‘I lived through that!’ She went on to tell me that from the age of three to six she had lived in the basement of her home with her mum and dad and scores of other neighbours who didn’t have a basement. For three years she never saw daylight! When the fighting eventually stopped and the people surfaced their eyes could not adjust to the brightness of the day. She told me it took a month before she could see properly. She went on to say that before the war began they were wealthy. Her father had his own business employing 5000 men across Bosnia … but the bombing had destroyed his two factories. There was no insurance, they lost everything! Her dad never recovered! You could hear the emotion in her voice as she shared her story with me …‘I’m sorry’, I said, ‘I didn’t mean to open up old wounds’. ‘They are not old wounds, I live with them every day but when I talk about it somehow the pain eases.’ For a moment or two the two of us just stood there, aware that something quite powerful had just been shared. Shortly afterwards I left, moved by the story of a remarkable young woman.
As I read Scripture I am reminded time and again that God never intended us to be islands. We were created for community, to love and support one another through life’s twists and turns. One of the ways we grow community is by taking time to ask questions, to find out about the people God has placed us amongst. Some of course will not respond well to such questions and for sure nobody likes a nosy parker or busybody but most will respond positively if they sense we are genuinely interested in them. So give it a whirl, find out more and start with the people closest to you!