Each spring, this age-old question seems to pop into my head on a regular basis: Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is? If this Chronicler was inclined to take some literary license, the 2021 St. Anthony’s version would go more like this: Spring is sprung, the dandelions riz; Tracy wonders where the robins is.
Now remember that Tracy and JustBob created a critter buffet behind the Solanus Center last fall so that Tracy could watch the birds visit all winter long from the Residents’ Community Room. And he has been diligent about keeping track of the different birds that have visited: chickadees, juncos, finches, several kinds of woodpeckers, and even a pair of cardinals eventually found their way back there. So as winter turned to spring, Tracy expectantly watched to see if he could spot the first robin enjoying the buffet.
About a month ago, the local paper included a picture of a robin spotted in Edgar, a few miles west of us. (It is a small town newspaper, and simple pleasures often make the news.) Since then, every single staff member reported having seen a robin, but not Tracy. He is the lone member of our community wondering “where the robins is”. For Tracy, it seems to be an age-old question with no answer, at least not yet.
Another age-old question came up at a lunch discussion recently: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? You see, one of the many critters that roam our grounds is a woodchuck. Brother Woodchuck lives under the cloister wall on the west side of the house. He was spotted recently exploring the piles of limbs in the front yard. Even though he seemed to be enjoying the woodpile, he was not chucking any wood. Despite what seemed like the perfect opportunity to find the answer to another age-old question, the answer remains a mystery.
And so it can be with life’s questions, even the more serious, life-changing kinds of questions. Why do good people suffer? Why do young people die? Why can’t we all get along? As much as we might wish otherwise, sometimes we are left without answers. Even though it may seem reasonable to expect answers, sometimes the answers seem as elusive as the robin has been for Tracy. And sometimes, despite what may seem to be ideal circumstances, the answers seem to be as much a mystery as Brother Woodchuck’s wood chucking skills. In these circumstances, we have no choice but to continue to hold and ponder the unanswered, age-old questions, trusting that when we need to know we will know, and when we do not need to know, we will be able to continue to trust the One who does know all the answers.
For all of life’s age-old questions, for answers received and for answers that remain elusive or mysterious, we say Deo Gratias!