Let’s talk about the root cause of bird poop and how it can help us understand your actions. Let me explain.
In Environment, Health, and Safety circles there is a common procedure called “Five Whys.” A real life example involving the Jefferson Memorial is often used to explain it. The monument was deteriorating and those responsible had to ask “Why?” five times to get to the real answer.
- Why was the memorial deteriorating? Because harsh chemicals were being used to clean it.
- Why were these chemicals necessary? Because birds were pooping regularly on the monument.
- Why were birds attracted to the monument? Because there was an abundance of spiders for the birds to eat.
- Well Why were the spiders there? Because of midges that the spiders like to eat.
- (You guessed it) Why are the midges there? Because the lights that shine on the monument attract the midges.
By adjusting the light pattern of the monument they were able to solve the ultimate problem. To find the real WHY, often we need to ask several little whys beforehand. The solution can turn out to be unexpected and illuminating.
The same is true in our spiritual life. When we error, either by doing something bad or failing to reach the heights of love, it helps to ask why repeatedly. Often in our frustration we say I did X (broke my exercise goal, insulted a friend, watched explicit content, judged too harshly) because I am bad. But if God is source of all being, that explanation is grade-A malarkey.
If God is the source of all being, NOTHING can exist unless it is good, at least in some way. We humans are programmed to pursue what is good. That means that if we ask why repeatedly about our own actions, or the actions of those we want to judge, ultimately we will find something that is good. Perhaps good, but taken to excess, or good, but outside of its proper context, or good, but without proper restraint, but nonetheless, of itself, still good.
So when we struggle, we need to remember: The final why will always reflect God.
So the next time you want to judge yourself harshly, ask why you fell into that mistake. Maybe the ultimate reason why you fell into that bad habit is that you were lonely. If you fulfill your deepest desire, the bad habit won’t be as attractive anymore. The loneliness you feel is a desire for others, which is good. Or maybe you are looking for acceptance (which, of itself, is good), but are just looking for it in the wrong places. Or maybe a slight change in your sleep pattern will give you more willpower to resist that pesky sin. Why would you be staying up late? Maybe because you want to get plenty of good things done . . . but are failing to see that not getting that shut-eye is ultimately frustrating your ability to be productive in the long term.
Apply this to others too. That person who cut you off isn’t a jerk, he is a child of God who has some need not being met, a need that is good and reflects God in some way. You may not know the Five Whys for others, but you can be certain that the ultimate why of any human act is to fulfill that desire that only God can fulfill. We just may not realize it at the time.
So be kind to others fellow humans.