They drive you round the bend with question after question about everything under the sun, until you reach the end of your tether and tell them to go and sit quietly and read a book.
I was that child.
Except I didn’t ask any old question, just the one. “Why?” I would enquire. Give me a reason, offer me an explanation. I refused to settle with mediocre answers, and would push and push until my victim of choice caved and gave the final answer: “because that’s how God made it.” That was the trump card – I couldn’t argue with God. His creation was a mystery, but one which I trusted.
And so, as I grew older, I learned that some things just were. They were unchangeable, they were in place and they had authority, and that was that. You couldn’t change the root cause, because God was in charge and this is how He had made it. No need to ask why. Just accept it, move on, and pick up the pieces later if needs be.
But then, aged 16, I sat on my kitchen floor with a friend, and she told me how, as a child, she had been raped. Then I was in school, listening to another friend cry as she told me how her dad hit her mum. Then I learned that one in three women will, at some point in their lives, be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused. Then recently, as headlines inform us of the hacker that leaked nude photos of female celebrities to the internet. The status quo suggests that it’s acceptable for a woman’s rights to be abused.
And suddenly, it rose within me. That question which I had learned not to ask, that longing that I had quashed, the longing to know the reasons behind the reality. Why?
I wish I could write, victorious, and tell you that I know the answer. I wish I could placate my thirst for truth with the answer that satisfied five-year-old me: “because that’s how God made it.” But this answer is not enough. It does not hold within it the finality it used to bestow. It is not the truth. This is not how God made it. This answer will not lead to a better way.