Where in the world am I today? Reflecting on the idea of fairness…
I was probably about five years old when I found myself stuck in our rumpled family car on a hot Tennessee day while my father went into a store to grab something “real quick” and to “be right back.” As sweat rolled off my forehead, I caught the sight of other children my age crossing the street in front of me with their parents, headed for the front doors of the cool, air-conditioned store, probably stuffed full of imagined goodies.
“Mama, how come we can’t go in?” I pointed at the children. “Look! They get to go in.”
“No, we’re not going in. Just wait for Daddy,” came the tired reply. Her eyes were closed.
“That’s not fair!” I protested.
“Well,” Mama said calmly. “Life isn’t fair.”
I will never forget my mother saying those words while I was growing up. She said them a lot when we tried to argue with her to get our way. It ended the arguments because she wasn’t disagreeing with us, she was simply accepting our words and leaving us with little ammunition to fire back . Life isn’t fair. Get used to it. Yes, you are so right. Oh, well.
Lately, I’ve been throwing the same argument up to God. It’s not fair Lord! Why do some women get marriage and children while I wait? I love children. And I love love. Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.
How come that person over there uses his talent so easily while I strain for mine? Why don’t I have discipline like that woman? How come my memory is awful and he has a photographic one? Why does she get to lose weight just from taking a walk when I could walk for hours and still gain a pound or two? How come I had to have surgery? Why did some of my closest friends turn their backs on me? How come my ex won’t speak to me? Why don’t I feel giddy, like everyone seems to on Facebook?
And so it goes. My anger burns against my heavenly parent. I stomp my feet in protest. I reason with him.
He replies, “Yes, life is not fair. It’s not fair that I have gifted you with gifts I didn’t give to others. I am sure someone is jealous of your life situation, of your freedom and adventure and security. And why did I choose to place you in a two parent home in a world where that is a precious and rare commodity, and allow others to go parent-less? Oh, and it’s not really fair that you got a private school education, get to travel the world, and have friends all over the globe. Others didn’t get that. You’ve never seen war with your own eyes, been violated and physically broken, or forced into marriage before you became a woman. You’ve never given birth and then lost that same child. It’s just not fair. You are so right.”
What can I say to that? I nod my head quietly. Thank you Daddy God. Teach me to appreciate and embrace my “unfair” life.