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Emily Parnell: Whether you’re in darkness or sunlight, it’s a good time to ask ‘Why me?’

Why me? It’s a question I ask often, and in earnest.

It’s a question normally associated with negatives in life, but surely I’m not alone in wondering why I’m so blessed. Looking at the world through the rectangular window of my computer, I see so much pain and heartache out there. The poverty, abuse and even simple negative feelings seem so permeated through our world. A while back, I interviewed a doctor about his decision to contribute heavily to world outreach programs to help underserved populations of Third World countries.

“But for the grace of God, I’m not one of them,” he said.

Those words have sticking power, opening up the door to questioning the meaning of life. (Sheez, why hasn’t anyone figured out the answer to that one yet?)

You don’t have to remind me to be thankful for what I have. A warm home, an income, a loving husband, two great kids and beyond. We have our health, we have modern health care and we have running water. I have to wonder, why me? How did I win the lottery and end up in a First World country? Why don’t I have a child with a horrible illness? How did I score such a fine husband?

I ask the questions with full respect to the possibility that each of these things — and more — could be taken away at any moment. In a world that seems so bent on attaining more, more, more, my weakness seems to be in the fear of losing what I have — what I love.

As someone who usually tends to be a glass half-full kind of gal, it’s perhaps my moment of negativity. My fear.

So I guess the question I have is why we ask “why me” when we’re down and out. Are we so entitled to the good things that we should only wonder when things go bad? Why not question why we’re the lucky ones? What can we accomplish? Why would we be given the luxury of ease if not to accomplish something?

“Why me” is a worthwhile question, one that can help us find our purpose, develop strength in pain, and find meaning in heartache. But how much more could be accomplished in this world if we all asked this when we’re on the upswing? When we’re capable, and when things are easy. What better time to ask, “why me” than when the money is flowing or the opportunities ample? What are your talents? Who are your connections? Why you?

What if every moment we’re given is an opportunity? A moment to help, a chance to seize?

I’m on the fence: Is life a crap shoot, or is every moment orchestrated? Is God a micromanager, or is the chaos a form of freedom? Some days it feels like my whole life has been planned out since before time began, and other days, I wonder by what chance everything has fallen into place.

Either way, it’s always a good time to ask, “Why me?”

Overland Park mom and freelancer Emily Parnell writes regularly for Diversions.

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