Why Me? Why Not Me?

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An Unknown Celebrity
Like a lot of people, I have a certain curiosity about celebrities and have always loved watching celebrity interviews. Many, many years ago I watched one celebrity* – whose name or ANY detail about them has forever eluded me – as they were interviewed after something terrible had happened in their life. “Don’t you ever ask ‘Why me?’,” said the interviewer. To which the celebrity replied, “I never ask ‘why me’ when the good stuff happens in my life, so why would I ask ‘why me’ when the bad stuff happens?” They completely stumped the interviewer and their answer completely stuck with me.

The Question
As previously mentioned, a few weeks ago I had surgery. This has lead to an outpouring of support from family, friends and co-workers. People I haven’t talked to in weeks/months/years are calling and emailing and it’s fantastic. I’m very blessed that all of these wonderful people want to help in some way with my recovery.

“What can I do?” “What do you need?” 

I’m not supposed to sit all day, but I’m not supposed to do a lot of activities either, so “company” is usually my reply. “Help keep me from losing my mind as I spent way too much time in and around my house.”

And so the answers to my requests have begun. Visitors, meals, phone calls and escorts for short outings have been flowing in. Which lead to a conversation that has stuck with me. As my visitor was trying to be kind and sympathizing saying “you poor thing, you’ve been through so much,” they then asked what I’m sure seemed like a very innocuous question: “Don’t you ever ask ‘Why me?’”

Immediately, that celebrity’s answer flashed through my mind. “No. I don’t,” came my quick and short reply, followed by an awkward pause and a change in the subject. And it was true. I had never even thought to ask myself that question.

Counting My Blessings
In the grand scheme of life in general, I have NOT been through a lot. None of my loved ones put themselves in harms way on a regular basis. I have never been homeless or lived in fear or poverty. I do not have an incurable illness. I have a roof over my head, a pantry full of food, an understanding employer and health insurance that will keep this incident from destroying my family’s finances. However, in the grand scheme of MY life, the chronic pain and eventual surgery have made these last few months some of the most challenging.

I’m not a deeply religious person, but over the past several months I have clung hard to these two phrases:

  • “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.”
  • “If God brings you to it, he’ll bring you through it.”

I’ve repeated these mantras-of-sorts to myself when I’ve struggled with my attitude or felt like the pain was never going to end or felt like once again that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel was gone. Some days mentally repeating those phrases is all that got me out of the house.

But never have I asked “why me?” And while this probably sounds trite, I know it’s because of that celebrity’s answer all those years ago. Because that person’s answer is EXACTLY right.

So Why Me?
So just for fun, let’s answer the question: Why me? Why did this happen to me?

Because for someone else, whose spouse is not as supportive or strong as mine, there may not have been someone able to get them through those first 24 hours of Hell when you come home from the hospital. Because for someone else, whose life has not been as blessed as mine, months of chronic pain might have been the thing that broke their spirit forever. Because for someone else, whose employer and health care plan are not as good as mine, trying to pay for the surgery might have been the thing that destroyed their family’s finances. Because as it turns out, I can handle it. And I can handle it because of the amazing, above-mentioned support system that enables me to pause my life and take my time recovering and healing. It’s thanks to that support that this will eventually just be a minor bump in the road.

*P.S. – Please, dear friends, do NOT see this as a challenge to go on a Google quest to figure out who this person might be. I really, truly do not know and do not want to know. (Plus if you do find out, it’ll probably end up being some completely ridiculous celebrity that had one lucid moment in life and then I’ll really have a dilemma on my hands. So spare me that, would you?)

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