If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?
This prompt was extremely difficult to answer. Not for a lack of questions though because as soon as I read the prompt this week, my brain turned into an mid-2000’s version of VH1’s pop-up video. I have plenty of questions that I would like answered. I love to ask questions. I enjoy learning new things and would really like to decrease the number of questions bobbing around in my brain. I am learning that the more I learn, the more questions I have. That is what made this prompt so difficult for me. I don’t want to know the answer to one question. I want to know the answer to them all! A statement that is completely unrealistic.
After thinking about it for a while, I found one question that I can ask that will be applicable to many situations. It’s a question I have been asking for more than 20 years. (My parents can attest to this.) The question contains only a single word, made up of three letters. The question is one the most commonly used in the English language (at least I think so). The question is, drum roll please, ‘Why?’. Such a simple question, yet so complex.
‘Why?’ can be applied a thousand different situations in the same day. It’s the perfect question to know the answer to because the answer is never the same. Why is the sunset so colorful? Why do people have phantom limb pain? Why can’t I run faster? Why can’t I teleport, or time travel or help everyone be happy? Each situation is different, but each has the same question in common ‘Why?’.
Striving to answer the question ‘Why?’ has gotten me to where I am today. It is now part of my job to answer questions. As a researcher I ask questions, come up with new answers, then ask more questions. As adjunct faculty, I am constantly asking pharmacy students ‘Why?’. Why did you choose that answer? Why didn’t you choose this medication therapy? These questions are sometimes the hardest to answer, but are also the ones that teach the most. We should not be seeking the answer to a question with one answer. We should be seeking many answers to one question – Why?
“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.”
Bridget Scoville is a pharmacist with a scholarly interest in the kidneys. She is completing a post-graduate research fellowship at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. When she’s not working on research, Bridget can be found running, swapping stories over coffee, laughing with friends during dinner, or youth mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters.