Jan 2002 issue
THE "WHY" AND "WHAT" OF LIFE
When a sudden personal catastrophe happens, you lie there and the feeling is overwhelming: " Why me?" In many terminal disease cases, victims look back at their life; often with regret at many things said or unsaid, feeling like they may have done something wrong to 'deserve' their affliction. Where their conscience is trouble-free, the overwhelming question still arises:
" Why me? What did I do wrong to deserve this?".
After spending six months in hospital and now partially disabled, a common question I used to get was
" Did you ask yourself why you had Guillain-Barre Syndrome ( GBS )?"
To tell the truth, I rarely asked that question since GBS can strike anyone and anywhere, very much like cancer - except you stand a far lesser chance of dying from GBS. Once you remove the anguish of trying to find answers for ' why' questions that rarely have answers; the path is clear.
Instead of anguishing over the " whys ' in our lives, we should focus instead on the " whats" .
" What can I do to make this thing right?"
" What can I do to make myself a better person?"
" What can I achieve after this illness?"
" What can be done to make my family happier?"
In my case, it was an issue of asking " what can I do to get better quickly" and then later, " what can I do as a disabled person?".
Sometimes there are answers to the " whys " in life, for example, maybe if this or that person had never chosen to smoke, they may have lived a longer, better life.
But once catastrophe strikes, even if there are answers to the " whys" one should not dwell on these - one should look again at the " what " issues in life.