Why, Oh, Why?

Sometimes I wonder why.

Why do bad people win? Why do good people lose? How is it that 99.999 percent of the art and music throughout recorded history has been about love, religion, and natural beauty? But 99.999 percent of the movies on my streaming service suck?

Why does a blue sky represent happiness, but the color blue itself represents sadness? Why is it that music classes are not taught in many schools, but the Pythagorean Theorem still is.

Why do you have to be 21 to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, but only 16 years old to drive 75 mph on the interstate?

Why do they put cotton balls in bottles of Bayer aspirin when the pills cannot be crushed with a cinderblock?

Why do we leave cars worth tens-of-thousands of dollars in the driveway, but store our worthless junk in the garage? Why do they sell hotdogs in packs of 10, but hotdog buns come in packs of eight?

Why is it that the people who drive too slow in the left lane always avoid eye contact with me when I pass them?

Why do good people suffer? Why do the people who act like idiots become internationally famous, but the heroes are always camera shy? Why are the only people who tell the truth children?

I wonder why my neighbor, Miss Patricia, the health freak, died of breast cancer when she was in her early 60s, but Miss Jean, my neighbor who chain-smoked unfiltered Camels, lived past 101.

Why is it that the U.S. Census Bureau found that one third of Americans were likely depressed? Why do only 14 percent of Americans say they’re happy?

How is it that one out of every five adults suffers from mental illness (twice the amount of those who suffer from diabetes), but you aren’t supposed to talk about mental illness?

Why do teachers earn 20 percent less than most employees at Old Navy? Why is a nurse’s salary less than, say, a relieving pitcher’s?

Why is it that, as you read this, 660,000 motorists are currently playing on their smartphones while driving. Why is it that the average American will spend 11 years of their life looking at their phone?

How is it that, in one study, 80 percent of college students could not recall the color of their mother’s eyes.

Why do babies die in incubators, but dictators die from old age?

How can a Roomba®, a high-tech robotic vacuum cleaner, digitally memorize the entire floorplan of your home, then program itself to avoid obstacles and furniture, but remain unable to spot a pile of dog poop, and turns your living room floor into a vision of hell.

I have often wondered why teenagers are always resurrecting the same outdated fashions their parents wore as kids. Bell bottoms are only one example. Horn rimmed glasses, I’m looking at you.

Why do friendships come and go? How is it that two people can be so close, and then one day not be?

How come people die? And how come you never see it coming when it happens?

How come Robert, who emailed me this morning, had to watch his mother suffer and die in her sickbed, even though she was only in her late 40s?

How come Lucy, the 9-year-old Labrador retriever, had to have pancreatitis?

How come Brayden didn’t get the promotion he’s been waiting for, but the new guy did?

How come Jessica’s husband walked out on her and her two children?

How come Cynthia, Daryl’s wife of 46 years, is sick?

Well, the truth is I don’t have answers. In fact, I don’t have anything.

What I do have, however, is an idea. It’s an idea that is often criticized and belittled by those in the modern age, and by those who don’t understand it. An idea so simple that you have to have the mind of a fourth-grader to grasp it. It’s an idea my mother taught me. An idea her mother taught her.

And the idea is this: Maybe we’re not supposed to be asking questions.

Maybe answers aren’t important. Maybe we’re not supposed to be wasting time looking for answers. Maybe we’re supposed to be looking for the people who need them worse than we do.


  1. Diane Clayton - January 16, 2022 7:06 am

    All your columns are good, but this one is REALLY good. Thank you. <3

  2. Lisa K Riley - January 16, 2022 7:42 am

    Sean, and when we find those people, maybe, just maybe, we’re not supposed to act like the jackwagons we all seem to be right now but we’re supposed to show some actual love and compassion for others. Gee. Wouldn’t that be a concept?

    • Mary Wynn - January 16, 2022 2:08 pm

      I always go back to Job in this situation, when he was questioning God, and God basically told him it was none of his business and he was an upstart to be asking questions in the first place. And when we get where we’re going, we will know everything, probably including why we never needed to know the answers in the first place. Oh, by the way, the Roomba creating a version of hell made me snort coffee out my nose.

  3. Kristi - January 16, 2022 7:43 am

    Love this, as always ❤

  4. Suzanne - January 16, 2022 9:41 am

    Oh Sean…you hit the nail on the head with this one! Thank you!

  5. Kerry Rainey - January 16, 2022 11:11 am

    Also…why does a certain columnist who contributes so much daily wisdom and encouragement and laughter to so many not make more $ than stupid, biased opinion and sports columnists?

    Or…Why does the Crimson Tide EVER have to lose lol? How many championships would it take to be enough? Is it like the Bible says about the rich (“The man who loves wealth never has enough.”)

    And…Why haven’t we done something about the parasitic politicians that continue to do everything but follow the Constitution of the US of A? And why do we allow them to become filthy rich through bribery and then suck the public dry with outlandish retirement benefits?

    Seriously…how did we as a nation get to the point that we refute science in areas of gender, refute reason in areas of ancient wisdom (Biblical laws, historical lessons, etc.), and ignore morals and abuse (makes me sick to see all of the child abuse)?

    Any chance…that we come to our senses and keep the good things about America while continuing to increase our commitment to protect and provide freedom from rampant immigration and lawlessness?

    Finally…why have so many churches turned their backs on decency and obedience to a gracious God and led the way into evil during the last couple of generations (said from a retired Pastor’s heart)? Many churches support killing the unborn advancing depravity in direct opposition to God’s Word.

    God help us.

  6. Joy Jacobs - January 16, 2022 11:13 am

    One thing I’ve learned in my 70 years is there’s not an answer for most of life’s questions. You’ll be a lot happier if you can accept that. ❤️

  7. Diana Dowhower - January 16, 2022 11:55 am

    Wow yeah, everything you wrote, great column, may have to keep this one!

  8. Paul McCutchen - January 16, 2022 12:34 pm

    Well Sean now you got me pondering about the hot dog and bun problem. I will have to wait on the rest till the weather gets better and I can sit on my porch and ponder the other problems of the column or till my wife comes and gives me the answers. :):)

  9. Bonnie Specchio - January 16, 2022 1:00 pm

    As always loved your column. I look forward to it – always brightens my dad. The comment about the Roomba made me laugh – my friends have suffered through this experience. Whenever I don’t know the answer to a question, I just always think “it is one of life’s mysteries”. We aren’t meant to have all the answers all the time. Even Google doesn’t know everything!

  10. Shelton A. - January 16, 2022 1:33 pm

    Good point, Sean. We need to love our neighbor as ourselves (and not just the next-door neighbor you like). We need to do for others as we would have folks do for us. We need to follow His teaching, example, and two commandments. The world would be a better place if we did those things every day. Thanks for sharing, Sean. God bless you and Jamie (and your hounds).

  11. Julie P, RN - January 16, 2022 2:20 pm

    Right again, Sean! The answers in life are not important, and it’s a waste of precious time looking for them. Life is not fair, and it’s too short already. Remember…God’s in charge…’nuff said…Amen.

  12. Phil - January 16, 2022 2:59 pm

    I recently ended a long battle with “Why?”. I realized I could not handle the answer.

  13. Diane - January 16, 2022 3:29 pm

    It is all quite simply said for us in the Gospel of Christ. Simply keep your eyes on Him & all things, in due time, will be known to you.

  14. Cindy - January 16, 2022 3:33 pm

    I’ve spent a lot time praying and money on therapy dealing with WHY? Think your idea might just be correct Sean.

  15. Brad - January 16, 2022 4:27 pm

    Perhaps we ask the questions, not to change the world but to change us a little and thereby change the part of the world at our fingertips.

  16. joan moore - January 16, 2022 5:38 pm

    Job told his wife, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” Job 2:10

  17. Steve McCaleb - January 16, 2022 5:40 pm

    When I was much younger I was convinced I had all the answers but now…….I’m doing good to remember the questions. I’m pretty sure if we knew the answers to all the questions you posed in today’s post our heads would probably explode. When in some instances would be a much greater tragedy than others. Good stuff…as usual.

  18. Norma+Den🇿🇦 - January 16, 2022 5:44 pm

    The late Arthur Ashe gave the best answer to “Why Me” in an interview. I have a copy saved and check it out when I’m tempted to ask that question. Try to find the interview, it says it all. My husband fighting the Alzheimer’s battle & many times I’m tempted to ask the “question” which is when I read the Arthur Ashe interview over again.

  19. Linda Moon - January 16, 2022 6:22 pm

    I often want to know why. And lots of what you’ve wondered about here are or have been in my ponderings. I will tweak what the mothers taught….answers are important for all people who need them. And, you DO have something: regard for us people in every word and question you write.

  20. ROBIN LAZARUS - January 16, 2022 6:58 pm

    Great article

  21. MAM - January 16, 2022 7:05 pm

    Sean, your philosophy this morning will reap rewards for all of us. And as several have said: God’s in charge, and if I can get that in my pea brain, will it maybe keep me from asking questions all the time? But then, again, I’m human.

  22. Anne Arthur - January 16, 2022 9:11 pm

    Wisdom. You are speaking wisdom, as did your mother, and her mother.

  23. Ron Mahn - January 16, 2022 9:57 pm

    Yes … seek them out … sit and listen to them while avoiding the temptation to offer our answers to their questions.

  24. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - January 17, 2022 12:54 am

  25. Karen Snyder - January 17, 2022 2:30 am

    Interestingly, I just saw a sign that read “faith – having peace even when you don’t have all the answers.” As someone else said here, maybe we weren’t meant to know all the answers. Once again you have sparked a worthwhile conversation.

  26. Tammy S. - January 17, 2022 2:25 pm

    A wise, older lady once asked me (she knows I cross-stitch) can you look at the back of a piece you do and know what it is? I had asked a specific “why” question I was struggling with, and asked her advice. So I was confused with where this was going. I told her, “maybe sometimes, and other times no.” She then asked, “You being the creator of the piece, you already know the completed design outcome, right?” I told her, “yes, that’s fair. Because I know what the final piece will look like I could tell from looking at the backside, but others might not.” I was still confused. Then she said, “Life is like that cross-stitch piece but we are looking at the back-uncompleted side. God, as the designer and weaver, He knows the beautiful, completed finish. Now, I don’t always understand, but I trust, completely, that He is weaving and working all things together for good. Even when bad things happen to good people. Not always easy, but still, I trust. And I will take the joy of the Lord over the happiness of this world, any day. It’s constant and steady, even in life’s storms. Thank you, God. And thank you, Sean.

    • Kay - January 18, 2022 3:39 am

      Tammy S. I’m a cross stitcher too and I love the response your wise friend gave you when you asked the “why” question you were struggling with. Thanks for sharing her response.

  27. Teresa Beasley - January 20, 2022 3:13 am

    We ask “why?” because we are human. Harold Kushner’s book When Bad Things Happen to Good People helped me to accept the randomness of tragedy without losing my faith.

  28. Sam Seetin - January 20, 2022 6:29 am

    Because demi gods are capricious but the glass is always half full.

  29. Maxine - January 20, 2022 3:52 pm

    For someone who professes not being able to write, this is SO very well spoken, Sean you have amazing perception in the things of life, keep on sharing and blessing all of us with your vision.

  30. Chasity Davis Ritter - January 28, 2022 5:57 pm

    If you were to ask my husband the reason hotdogs come in 10 while buns come in 8 is because when you’re grilling them the dog always gets to eat two. Sean, you of all people should have known that one!! 🙂


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