questions and answers

I have so many questions. But what I'm learning is that even though it seems like the goal is to get to the answers, the growth lies in the asking itself.

This week at work, I started doing individual therapy sessions with clients all by myself, and it's the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. Mostly what I do is ask a lot of open-ended questions:

How do you feel? What are you thinking? Where did you learn that? How is that working for you? What could you try instead? Why do you think you feel this way?

And on the surface, it looks like the point is that the client is supposed to tell me the answers--the correct answers--to the questions. But that's not really it at all. The therapy lies in the client simply acknowledging that the questions exist--asking themselves the questions. Maybe they don't tell me the answers. Maybe they don't know the answers. But the answers aren't what's going to help clients get better. What helps them get better is struggling with, wrestling with, living with the questions.

I'm still talking about parables in my Sunday School class, so I've been thinking a lot about why Jesus spoke in parables. In some ways, it may be because it made things easier to understand, but I don't think that was always the case. In Matthew, we're told very clearly that the disciples didn't understand the parable of the weeds (which I covered last week.) When they're alone with Jesus later, they ask him to explain, which he does. So why didn't he just say it that way the first time? Did he make a mistake? Did he not know what sort of communication the disciples needed? Of course he knew. He knew exactly what his followers needed. And, apparently, as much as they may have wanted clarity, answers, Christ knew that they needed, first, curiosity. They needed to wonder. They needed to ask.

And so do we.