The Questions That Matter

The Questions That Matter

This week’s inspiration comes from a quote that will not leave me alone:

The important thing is to not stop questioning. –Albert Einstein

The important thing is to not stop questioning. –Albert Einstein

Is it? I question.


As most of you know, in this post-hospital way-too-long recovery journey, I’ve had a lot of questions:

Why did this happen? How did this happen? What can I do to prevent it from ever happening again?

It’s been exhausting. And yet, Einstein encourages it. So I wonder, is it healthy to keep questioning, especially when there are no clear answers?

As I let that thought spin around in my mind, I considered the value of questions. When questions are asked of us, they can convey care, concern, and an interest in our lives or of our expertise.

Yet, asking questions can be a risky business. They can reveal our ignorance, the limits of our understanding, and even our lack of sensitivity.

We are vulnerable to the, You-don’t-know-that? Haven’t-you-paid-attention? indignant response as well as the puzzling look of annoyance that says, You-are-asking-me-that? Can’t-you-see-the-hurt-it-may-cause?

It’s a wonder we dare ask anything!

Yet, we persist.

We are curious beings, relentless in our pursuit to understand, to grow, and to relate.

At some point, however, we may face unanswered questions. Despite our best research and investigations, our earnest willingness to struggle until we learn something helpful, we fail to find satisfying answers.

So what do we do with unanswered questions?

It’s been a lifelong battle for me.

“Put it on a shelf, BB,” my pastor father used to say to me when I was in high school and obsessing about one thing or another. “Don’t ignore the question, but place it somewhere out of the center of your thinking, at least for a while.”

That mental exercise helped then as it continues to help me, even now.

I’ll admit it; I have a large “shelf” in my mind, piled high with lots of unanswered questions that I revisit from time to time:

Why my brother’s death at age 17? Why my son’s degenerative disease? Why my daughter’s autism? Why my paralysis?

But even if I found the answers to these questions, the larger question remains, why me? Why did all of this happen to me?

That is the most dangerous question for me, one that parks me on the edge of a self-pity pit. When I feel that question bubbling up, I quickly put it on that shelf.

The more useful question, I’ve learned, is not why, but how. How can I live fully within these questions?

Perhaps that is the real value of continuing to question, as Einstein suggests. We don’t know everything. We can’t learn everything. Questions open our minds to new information that can revitalize our thinking, enable empathy, and expand our knowledge. If unanswered, they still have value, reminding us to respect and revere the mysteries of life, even as we let them rest gently in our minds.

Questions, answerable or not, kick us into gear, whether it’s learning and growing or absorbing and accepting. More importantly, they keep us moving forward, engaging with others along the way.


One strong, brave, determined day at a time.

One strong, brave, determined day at a time.

Isn’t that a great card? 

And on we go. . .

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers. My post-procedure blood clot finally dissolved so one less follow-up to manage. I’m getting there!

P.P.S. Still time to contribute to our Pathfinders for Autism Zoo Run team that honors Madison with this LINK.

In Honor of Madison Galli