“The Mystery of Life…

A Lot of Questions With No Answers…”

Editorial by Robert Kirwan

   With all of the recent school shootings in Canada and the United States as well as the ever increasing pressure and stress being experienced by virtually all age groups in society, it is certainly no surprise that many people are asking themselves a lot of serious questions about life in general.

   A number of years ago, when I was teaching at St. Anne School , one of the girls in my Grade 7 class, Stephanie Bennett, wrote an essay that touched my heart and has remained one of my all-time favourites, even though it was written by a teen age girl as an English assignment. As adults we often think that children are arrogant and cocky, acting as if  they have all of the answers. In fact, they are usually the complete opposite. They are the ones with many of the questions. And the questions they ask are no different from the ones that adults struggle with every day.

Stephanie’s essay was entitled, “Losing Someone...” I think you will find it very appropriate in light of what each of us may be going through in our own lives right now. Remember that she was writing this essay five years after the incident.

   “I believe losing someone to death is the hardest thing a person can endure. People think death is scary, which is possibly true. I think dying in a hospital is the worst. My Grandpa died in a hospital and watching my dad cry was the hardest.

I was seven but devastated. I remember when I used to take candy from his candy dish. When he caught me he’d say something like, “Don’t you like the black candy babies?” I would say “yes” even though I don’t, just to make him happy.

   I don’t understand life. When we die, do we go to Heaven or Hell? How can the Lord judge someone by good or bad? Some people live a meaningless life where they are abused each day and slavery rules. Why would God want people to suffer? Did I lead a previous life? Who is my Guardian Angel? Are the apocalypse predictions true?

My Dad and Grandpa were going to go on a ski trip to Alaska
, but Grandpa had a stroke and couldn’t go. I plan, when I’m older, to take my Dad before it’s too late for him too. Life is a precious thing from God, and we should live life to the fullest.”

   I didn’t have any answers for Stephanie. I could have given her many explanations and rationalize a lot of what happens,  but when all is said and done the final conclusion will still come down to the fact that no one really understands life.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do some people suffer so much and other people go through life with no problems or worries? Who decides? Is life all planned out when we are born? Do we really have any control over our own destiny?

Life is a mystery. So it stands to reason that death would be even more of a mystery. Stephanie is not the only one with questions. We all have them. But I was impressed that this young 12 year old girl was years ahead of herself in terms of wisdom. She understood at a young age that life is precious and that we should all live life to the fullest. She also understood that if you want to do something with a loved one, the earlier the better. You never know when you will get a second chance. Enjoy your skiing trip with your Dad, Stephanie. I know he will love every minute of it.

We must remember that there isn’t anything wrong with asking questions about life. Without questions we would never have an opportunity to think about answers, and we would never have an opportunity to realize that life is just one big mystery with no solution – it is merely a journey full of surprises and many, many more questions.

   We should all
take Stephanie’s advice. Go on that skiing trip with your parents. Plan that vacation with your children. Spend a weekend away in a cabin alone with your husband or wife. Send your wife a bouquet of flowers for no reason. Don’t wait until it’s too late - you never know when you’ll get that second chance.

Have a good week!


The Private Practice of
Robert Kirwan, OCT., B.A. (Math), M.A. (Education)
Independent Education, Training & Career Development Consultant