Sage advice from an elderly gentleman perched atop a lonely mountain.
Hello friends, today I bring to you some thoughts on a question sent to me from a Mr. John Tanner of Mesquite, Texas.
“Dear Banaba,” he writes. “The question that constantly comes to my mind is simply, what the Hell? I mean, as I look around me, I wonder…seriously, what the Hell?”
To my new friend John I say, “What the Hell, indeed.”
Your question is really most profound.
Many people around the world have asked it again and again throughout all of time. Some have used it more as an expression of their frustrations and in more of a rhetorical sense while others seriously and earnestly ask it because they would really like to know in that moment – “What the Hell!?”
No matter what in your life brought to where you needed to ask, the question as you ask it certainly deserves an answer.
I can tell you that the answer is not easy, nor is it overly complex. The answer can also be as individual as the person who asks it and may be affected by the variable context in which it is asked. So, there could be over a billion possible answers.
But, let us not try to boil the ocean today. Instead, today let me tell you that there are basically three answers to your question.
In a literal sense, the answer relates to Hell itself, of course. For some reason, things in your life start to move in a direction that you feel ill prepared for. It may appear to be something that is either truly difficult to resolve or just too much of an inconvenience at that point in time for you to want to deal with it. Mentally, you may feel as though Hell has literally opened up and brought forth this horrible thing just to ruin your day.
In many ways, you are correct.
As an example, you are driving to an appointment and are running late, but you have it all planned out and you still have time to get to your meeting. Then you realize you need to pick something up at the store. You can adjust your plan, but that makes your schedule even tighter. It’s doable, of course, but much tighter. Then you find yourself in a traffic jam. It’s bad. You will miss your appointment, you will not get to the store and in fact, it looks like you will miss your next appointment as well and get home late.
“What the Hell!?”
It seems unlikely – if Hell is as we understand it to be – that Hell, or whoever runs it would select you out of everyone who needs their compass adjusted, to ruin your day. However, if that is how you feel, that is your reality, and that is ultimately what you must deal with.
If we further explore the more rhetorical side of the question, viewing it less as a question and more of an expression of emotion, Hell in this case may be no less real, but is then applied to the thing you see or encounter.
As an example, you are walking along minding your own business when a speeding truck barrels down the street and plows into a box of baby rabbits.
What the Hell!? Am I right?
In this case, you are making an expression that applies to the horror, or the Hellish scene, that unfolds before you. Unless those are your bunnies, you are probably not directly affected in this case, but the horror for you is still very real. You do not have to deal with the circumstances of the situation intimately, but you will have to learn how to process what you have seen so that in some way you can accept that the thing occurred and can now move forward.
As a good friend once told me, “Hey Bro, sometimes shit is just messed up.”
Again, this leans less toward an answer and more toward an expression. But it can also be taken as an ending statement, like a period at the end of a sentence.
You may not understand what happened or why, no matter how “messed up” it is. In this sense, your “What the Hell?” is merely an acknowledgement of the event. A stake in the ground that allows you to take the next step into your world without being eternally bound to the event.
To think of it another way, it is giving yourself the right to move past what might be seen as the futility of over analysis, complicating the very simple or getting stuck in something you have little or no ability to change.
As an example, you come across a lavish tray of freshly baked cookies. You know you do not need a cookie, but that knowledge is nothing against the desire to have a cookie. You could spend many valuable minutes of your life debating the pros and cons of eating a cookie, when in actuality, you have already decided to eat the cookie and you are merely going through the exercise of internal debate to soothe your conscious mind once the cookie is consumed.
To resolve this conflict, you say, “What the Hell?” and you eat the cookie.
So you see John, despite your frustration in the moment that inspired this question, you will likely encounter a great many more. Being able to answer your question, and being able to accept that answer will be the key to a greater inner calm and a better overall life.
Peace to you – Banaba