In high school, I remember reading a book called The Alchemist. It told the story of a poor boy who left the home where he’d spent his whole life in search of treasure. It’s a weird, fantastical journey that ends with the boy learning that the treasure he’d spent years searching for was buried beneath a tree at the home he started from. Now this isn’t a book report - I’m pretty sure I may have just butchered even the short synopsis - but the frustrating and profound conclusion to that book has always stuck with me.
Whenever I write, I feel an urge to give my writing some impactful ending, a profound closing thought, some conclusion that justifies me having written this much or you having read this far. Whatever I experience, good or bad, I seek to understand what really made it worthwhile or not. Furthermore, I automatically dissect any story for its hidden messages and implicit moral statements (honestly I’m a model English student, but only if you’re not making me do it). I always read into the motivations of the people around me and try to find the reason for anything that happens. Basically, I’m too concerned with the why in every situation. Why did the artist choose to include this minor detail? Why were you quieter than normal today? Why do I have to experience this loss and this change? Why are you reading this blog post at all? These questions are the rabbit trails my brain goes exploring on. They are the reason I text people out of the blue. They have me crying out to God for answers or stubbornly looking for my own.
I get so caught up in reaching conclusions - the reason for my pain, the meaning of the story, the justification for anything’s existence. Of course, conclusions can be good (again, I probably picked this up from English classes). Reasons and meanings are important and necessary in moderation. But I don’t get to know why life always happens the way it does. Now here’s where we get back to The Alchemist. This boy spent years searching for treasure, traveling the world, only to discover it was buried where he began his search. Classic “the journey is more important than the destination” message. Ha! I just took so long to say something that simple. But really, that story frustrated me so much in 9th grade, but it has stuck with me ever since then and I think it’s really applicable here.
I still wonder why I’ve lost some of my friendships. I still question how some struggles really teach me anything. Sometimes I get frustrated with people because they can’t seem to describe why they feel the way they do, until I remind myself that the emotion may be more important than why it exists (...and I realize that normal people don’t hyper-analyze things like I do). I’ve ended so many journal entries and unposted-posts without finding answers to the questions I ask, and I’m tempted to discard them as meaningless. But I’m learning to resist these urges. All of life is a search for answers. Not having answers is an exercise in faith. I carry with me so many struggles and experiences that I’m still asking God why I must go through them. But maybe I’ll never know why. Maybe it’s simply in carrying them that I grow. Maybe the treasure has been in my backpack with me all along.