From The Storyteller
Hello All: Having spent much of my life searching for answers , I've finally found a response to questions that usually works. Enjoy, Doug
“It has no weight, does not cast a shadow, and it consumes the thing that gives it life.” Elaine (my science teacher bride) is sharing facts about the properties of fire as we sit watching the flames in our wood burning stove. I realize that, while I know what fire is, I’m totally clueless about the science of fire.
Which brings me to memories, which like fire have no weight and do not cast a shadow. Again, I know what memory is, but I’m totally clueless to the science of memories. Yes, I readily admit fire and memories are just two of the infinite number of things I’m totally clueless about.
When I was young and unafraid, I knew the answers to just about everything. The answer was always how I saw something, and that was that. My, how times change. It took years, and many opportunities to eat my words, for my answers to transition from “I know”, to “I think”, to “I guess”, to “I suspect”.
Now well into my seventh decade, I’ve come to the conclusion that my best response to questions is, “That’s a good question, I don’t know. What do you think?” The interesting thing is that most of the people already have their answer, and when they’re invited to share it, most willingly do so.
Which brings me to the response I developed to the “why” questions I was often asked while serving as pastor of churches. The question always goes went something like this: “Why would God allow cancer (or death, suffering, or anything else)?” My reply, “Thank you for thinking I am smart enough to know why God would do anything. We’ll just have to wait to find out”.
Moral: Be gentle with folks who "know" the answers; they're trying to help.