The Fairness of Life


I want life to be fair.  I want justice to prevail.  I want, what will always be on some level, an impossibility.

Life is not fair; get used to it. ~ Bill Gates

The reality is that life is NOT fair.  I dislike having to come to grips with this fact.  It reinforces that there are some things over which I have absolutely no control. I suppose that I’m arrogant enough to think that I even have some of the right answers, if life were to only ask me!

It’s not as if I sit here feeling sorry for myself.  At least, I don’t think that I do.  I knew that life wasn’t fair many years ago.  I recognized that there are some people who get more than their “fair share” of the challenges that life deals.   I always wondered why that seems to happen.  But I was never able to stomach the “woe is me” mindset for very long…in myself, and especially from others.

Perhaps it was the “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-and-get-on-with-it” lessons I learned.  Unfortunately, that was often accompanied by blame and martyrdom as a gift from the righteous authorities who didn’t know how to give anything else.  They, too, had been presented with the same gifts throughout their lives.  After all, we continue to pass on certain legacies, whether consciously or not.

Over the years there have been times when I accepted and played the role of martyr or scapegoat.  I did not expect that my life would ever be anything else than what it was, because I did not feel that I deserved anything better.  Let me assure you that this is no longer the case!  It is not my job in life to take on the problems of the rest of the world.  Nor have I been chosen to be the savior of the world from its misery, death and destruction.

I need to remind myself of this sometimes.  I continue to learn how to be more discerning about who to help and who I cannot help.  I let go sooner when I recognize that someone is not ready to tackle their own problems. It is important for me to remember that it is not my job to make things perfect…nor is it life’s job to do so.   We are all dealt life’s cards. We do not get to pick and choose which cards to take.

Each of us receives our own unique set of challenges, and our own unique strengths to think and see beyond those challenges, dealing with them the best we can. These challenges can be day-to-day occurrences or they can be long-suffering.

They can be as simple as discovering that someone has gouged the side of your car with a key, or that you forgot to pay a bill and have been assessed a healthy late fee.  The challenge may be dealing with the toll that war takes on a country or its soldiers.  Or it may be as heartbreaking as the family who must struggle with a loved one’s battle with cancer, and having to say their goodbyes.

Even though life is not always fair or just, it does not mean that we give up.  Nor does it mean we should sit around lamenting about our plight in life or go out of our way to bring others down by commiserating excessively about the struggles faced.

Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.  ~ Oscar Wilde

No matter what we face, we still have the power to make a difference in our own lives, and in relationship to the others we include in our lives. We do this by being compassionate and understanding.  It is by the act of showing kindness–to ourselves and to others—that we are able to open up our minds and hearts to be able to improve a situation.

We do it by the simple act of love, without keeping a scorecard of fairness or justness. Without drum rolls and cymbal crashes.  Without recognition for selfless sacrifice or a job well-done.

Simple.  Quiet.  Love.

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4 thoughts on “The Fairness of Life

  1. jilly

    Wow, Coral,

    I’ve seen you handle what life has thrown you with grace and dignity, but I had know idea that you were such an author at heart! I’ve saved your blog as a place I can come back to, reflect on, and knock the dust off when I’m down. Thanks for sharing your encouraging insight and wisdom!

    Have a beautiful day and may God bless you, Coral!
    Jilly

    1. Thank you, Jill, for your kind comments though I’m not always sure about that “grace and dignity” part! 😉 I welcome your return, and certainly hope that you will check out the other site I sent. I think you will find some other things over there, as well, that you will find interesting.

  2. Indeed, Coral. Life isn’t fair AND we ultimately get to be totally in control of how we receive and respond to each event, each challenge, each injustice. Always easier said than done – and certainly not a learned-once-always-learned lesson. ‘Seems to be that both unfairness and constant learning just continue.

    You’ve articulated that well, invited me into your own questions, and both mirrored/answered some of mine.

    Thank you.

    1. Ronna…I find it interesting that we, as humans, don’t always see “control of how we receive and respond” as having control at all. And how true! The only constant is certainly change…ever evolving, ever learning.

      Thank you.

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