Friday, April 30, 2010


As children, we question everything. Why is the sky blue? Why do moths flock around lights? Why does she get ice cream? Why should I? And then the older we get, the less we ask why.


Maybe we lose our curiosity (a sad thought). Maybe our observation of other peoples’ exasperation (all those questions!) becomes keener. Maybe we get tired of hearing the response, “Hmmmm, I don’t know.”

Why, why, why. It’s been running though my mind so much lately.


A dear friend was dealt a really cruel hand, and I keep wondering: why her??

I’m finishing up The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which contemplates luck and fate and how one event in life can influence every subsequent one thereafter. And I keep asking myself: why am I so lucky? Why am I here in Paris? Why?

And then for the past few days, my relatives and I have been sharing all kinds of wonderful and loving and funny memories of my grandmother in honor of the 20 years that have passed since she died. She was the kindest, gentlest soul, as all these messages remind me. Despite having had a tough life, she never got angry or resentful or raised her voice to anyone. Even this makes me ask: but why? Why did she have this disposition? (And why don’t I??)

Why do things happen the way they do?

As I’ve been thinking about this—realizing more often than not, I just don’t know—I’m trying to convince myself that it’s okay not to have the answers to everything. That not everything has to happen for a reason. That sometimes life is about not knowing and therein lies some of the beauty and magic.

This brings some peace and relief. Let there be mystery. Be okay with not knowing. Resolve to live life to the fullest, regardless of how much of it is clear and certain. After all, how boring would it be if we always had the answers (like that annoying know-it-all in the third grade)?

But somehow this is still not satisfying. I still ask: Why her? Why me? Why not?

And the answers? Who knows. But whether we’re four or 14 or thirty-something, I think it’s important that we keep asking why. We might not get the answers we want. But then again, we might discover something—a memory, a friendship, a truth—we didn’t even know we were searching for.


  1. You write most true things. It is exactly what I needed after a day of exasperation and trying to sverve things the way I want them to go and failing. Instead of just letting them roll.
    Thank you.

  2. my love to you and your family re your Grandmother and remembrance. Adored both of my Grandmothers for different reasons.

    Can't enjoy Elegance - keep starting and stopping it and not really sure why - guess I may finish it eventually.

    Paris tomorrow for 'Zorro' but not with the 'star' but the understudy who I think is better. Sunday is lunch with a French friend and then 'Colombe' - hoping they don't speak too fast (Who am I kidding I am going as it stars Gregori Baquet!)

  3. Beautiful post. And a great question. In the past few years I too have come to the realization that not knowing is actually more enjoyable and it also forcing me to appreciate the now and not look forward to the future as much (I used to tend to stress so much in the "now", thinking that it would be perfect "later", but later is always later, never now).

    Anyway, I really appreciate your words and my heart goes out to you and your friend for the reason that prompted you to write. xox

  4. très vrai... merci pour ce post!

  5. Wow, I really needed to read a post like this - thank you! I've been going through some hard stuff recently, and I like your attitude. I especially like when you say that maybe not everything happens for a reason. I guess there's some comfort in thinking it does, but I kind of like thinking it *doesn't*. It might just be life. Roll with it. Thanks again!

  6. Thanks for your notes, ladies. I'm glad that what sometimes feels like mindless dribble actually strikes a chord with others!

    Here's to 'rolling with it'! xo