I was recently talking on the phone to a friend about my troubles. She is a great friend because she sympathizes perfectly for me. At one point in the conversation she remarked, “Geez, Heather. I just don’t know why you keep being hit with problems. I can’t decide if Heavenly Father is trying to teach you something, which seems kinda mean-spirited or if you did something in the pre-existence to deserve this.” I laughed and joked, “Don’t you know? My skin color in the pre-existence was purple so obviously I wasn’t as worthy. That is why things are the way they are here.”

After my friend and I hung up, I felt much better because just talking about my worries helps me keep things in perspective. That and she makes me laugh, which is priceless on a bad day.

Then I read an article written by a guy who was dying from cancer and he wrote that he never asked Why Me. To him, it was a pointless exercise in theological questioning that had no answer, so why waste the energy on it? That reminded me of Neil A. Maxwell and his writings about his suffering with cancer. He too, never seriously asked Why Me. Neil felt that just in the asking, it showed a lack of faith in God. The proper question to ask was more along the lines of “What divine attributes can I gain insight into from experiencing this pain?” (You know Neil, he liked big words.)

When I think of Job in the bible, he also saw no value in asking Why Me.

But here is my truth: When the s—t hits the fan at my house, I always ask Why Me. I don’t consider it a weakness in my faith. I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes things are really hard and trials are so massive I just don’t want to face them. I whine and complain to my girlfriends and say, “It’s not fair! Why me? What did I do to deserve this?”

I don’t expect an answer that neatly explains my situation. What I do expect is the room and safety to explore all my feelings. I figure Heavenly Father is the one in charge and He saw fit for me to experience this challenge, so he is obviously a big enough person to handle my range of reactions. He is not offended by my questioning and knows it is a necessary part of the process towards acceptance for me.

What is interesting is how other people react when I am in my Why Me mood. Over the years in different situations, I have been told Bad Things Happen To Good People because:
A. I need to strengthen a weakness, I.E. My kids were deathly ill so I could learn patience.
B. I am suffering to cleanse the sins and choices of past generations, I.E. I am challenged to be better than my parents and grandparents were.
C. I am suffering so that other’s can see my pain and take courage from it, I.E. I am glad to not be you phenomenon.

Who knows what the answer is for any given situation? It doesn’t matter. I am just glad to be able to ask the question and know that I am safe in doing so. The most difficult part of any challenge is feeling isolated and misunderstood, like no one else can empathize. Allowing others the grace to ask Why Me without correcting them or telling them it is wrong to ask, is oftentimes the only gift you can give them.