A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. (Chinese Proverb) There is no "If - Then". There are no conditions to the singing. Cage a bird and - though saddened by the loss of its freedom to take wing – still it will sing.
This applies to humans as well. I heard on National Public Radio about a Jewish man and woman who found love in a concentration camp during WWII. Miraculously they both survived and were able to marry after the war. While everything around them was bleak and full of depravity and despair, they found a way to sing their song of love.
In Yiddish it is called a nigun, a melody, a tune, a song we are forever trying to remember, to recapture and to sing.
A baby in the womb first hears its mother's song. She is nourished by the cord between them, but she is also soothed and carried by the song she is surrounded by as she floats and grows. Perhaps it is the emergence of the baby's own song that pulls her from the womb. Gradually her own song takes the place of her mother's. Where will that song take her? What bits of melody will inform her life as she grows?
When we are little babies I believe we hear our own nigun loud and clear. It is so much a part of us that we do not need to sing it aloud, though some of us may try. As we grow older the needs and expectations of others may soon drown out the sound of our song, our nigun: so many voices clamoring for our attention; so many outer enticements pulling us away from our center. Still the song keeps on singing deep within: high or low, soft or loud, fast or slow. At night before sleep we can almost hear it. In our dreams we catch snatches of the melody.
As our life unfolds we may stop listening to our nigun and start looking for answers outside of ourselves. We ask why: Why is life so hard? So cruel? So unfair? So short? So long? What does it all mean? Why am I here? The search for answers takes us far away from our song. “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” (J. R. R. Tolkein)
In the end as in the beginning, life's longing for itself is the only answer needed. To hear it and to sing it and to live it, you must listen within, to that still small space within your heart. Only you can hear the melody, the words, the rhythm. Only you know when it is soft or loud, high or low, fast or slow. Within this melody lies all the answers, all the reasons why. The search to rediscover our nigun is a worthy challenge for us all.