Easy Answers to Life’s Hard Questions

QuesitonsDoes this happen to you? You use Google to search for the answer to a question or you type a phrase into Google’s simple search box, and a link to Yahoo Answers pops up in the top five results. For some reason, this surprises me every time it happens. For better or worse, Yahoo is a popular destination for answers to important life questions.

I recently ran across this question, asked by a 16 year-old boy:

Why does God’s love not seem like enough? Am I being selfish?

You can read the question’s details and the answer provided for yourself, so I don’t need to summarize them here. What made me stop and continue reading was the categorization above entry: “Resolved Question.” That means the questioner read the answer and gave it that designation. Well alright then!

I can’t decide how I feel about the exchange. One the one hand, these particular questions, paired as they are, strike me as being too big for Yahoo Answers. They seem better suited for an essay. Or better yet, written as a Psalm.

On the other hand, the answer that the questioner awarded a resolved status designation is beautiful in its simplicity. At its core it says, “Stop being selfish, help other people, and there you will really feel the love of God.”

Simple answers to hard questions can help us focus on change that makes a difference. But it’s in the doing where we struggle. In the doing is also where we find grace.


How Much Longer Can I Hold My Breath?

How much longer can I hold my breath?
The average human being lasts for no more than forty seconds.
I have been holding mine for months.

 Every time I exhale to complain, Guilt makes me catch my breath
            and I try not to speak.

“There are so many other people who have real reasons for holding their breaths,” Guilt says.
            “Some of them can barely breathe at all.”
I try to keep the air I would use to whine inside me.
But that air escapes.

That air comes out
            around the corners of my eyes
            in the graying of my hair
            in my gut as my stomach rolls
            when I wake up with a jolt in the early morning hours
                        and I cannot fall back to sleep.

If I had more faith, would all of these symptoms go away?
If I had more faith, would I be less preoccupied with my breathing?
If I had more faith, would I breathe freely
            allowing the Spirit to move in and out of my body
            and to bring with it the ebb and flow of peace?

I do not have the faith to breathe.
How much longer can I hold my breath?

And God Said, “Let There Be Brands.”

A Two-Liter Bottle of Coca-ColaThe title of this post comes from my misunderstanding of the concept of branding, mixed with some frustration, anger, fear, and sarcasm. You see, I’m about to lose my job.

On December 31, 2009, the imprint for which I edit books will no longer publish new material. I’m not in full panic mode yet; there are some possibilities for employment that may present themselves before the year-end deadline. However, I watched as coworkers and friends lost their jobs and I imagine we share similar feelings. The loss of a job means more than the loss of financial security, even though that’s a huge concern. Losing a job also brings into question one’s self worth.

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