I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things. ~Mother Teresa
“That’s not fair!” has been exclaimed from Kyle’s mouth time and time again. In fact, I heard it proclaimed this past weekend at the fishing derby Gone Fishing!. “Why is everyone else getting fish? That’s not fair! Why am I the only one?” and on and on. It’s fishing, no one ever in the history of the world said that every fisherman was suppose to catch the same amount of fish, let alone at the same time, all being the same size. It’s called life!
I know, I’m guilty of muttering those words too, for various reasons, mostly from my youth. Being an adult, I really don’t care to keep tallies and to track fairness. I realized long ago, everyone has their cross to bear and what may seem unfair, is ultimately in the hands of the Almighty One.
Is life suppose to be fair? It was never promised, by anyone at any time, not even in the bible. Yes, it’s true it talks about being fair and just to others but that is instructed of us, the ones with free will who sometimes stray from what’s right. Even with dictatorship rulings and socialist countries, everything is seriously not fair. There are always going to be those born into wealth or have status and opportunities that others don’t. Some are more intelligent and have great ideas etc.
Two Friday’s ago Kyle lost his molar. Yep, poor kid will be going into the seventh grade and is still loosing baby teeth. Maturity is not a strong trait in the Piper family. Anyway, we went to see Iron Man 3, which was great! He always has to get popcorn, except this missing tooth threw a monkey wrench in his behavior. He said, “O man, now I can’t have popcorn with the movie! Not with my sore gum. That’s not fair.” My parents said, “Just eat to one side.” He wouldn’t hear of it. That’s not the way you are suppose to eat, and he would not do it.
On a side note, Kyle is a bit of a weakling, putting it mildly, when it comes to any sort of physical pain. No matter how minor.
As we drove to the movie theater, he commented again on how that wasn’t fair. Really? With all the poverty, starvation and lack of proper nutrition in the world and him not eating popcorn for a movie on opening night is not fair? Someone needs to reevaluate his position. Better yet, let good old Aunt Heather put it in perspective. Keep in mind, this whole conversation was based on the fact he couldn’t eat popcorn! He could very well eat the snack, he just needed to adjust his chewing. That too ticked me off. Before the whining could begin, and before I seriously lost my temper, I go into one of my rants of how children are starving and don’t have the opportunity to go to the movies, especially on opening night. Kyle quickly dropped it, only because he didn’t want to listen to my ‘Everyone has it worse’ dissertation. I stopped because I didn’t want to hear his ‘Poor me’ arguments.
That got me thinking, life just isn’t fair. And I’m grateful for that! God made each and everyone of us unique in our way. Every person has strengths and weaknesses, which means there will never be complete “fairness”. He made us that way on purpose so we rely on each other to exist, to socialize, to be his children, his family.
Let’s discuss physical traits that can and cannot be helped. Some people are short, some are tall, fat, skinny, fair skinned, dark skinned, and the list goes on and on. Some may say, that’s not fair she has prettier eyes or a better smile than I have. Those, ‘That’s not fair’ comments is what makes us all unique and different. It brings variety to life.
Since the physical traits are all different, doesn’t the same principal go for all other aspects of life? Example time. Does everyone need to have the same amount of money as their neighbor? I don’t think so. I love the fact that I always worked, and worked hard for what I have, never accepting hand outs. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve received assistance in one form or another, but isn’t that what life’s about? Helping our neighbor when they’ve earned it or in time of need? I also don’t believe a ‘time of need’ is every minute of every day. Sometimes you have to stand on your own two feet and pave your own path. After all, how can you feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense of purpose, a sense of giving, when you are always taking?
Since everyone is different, and to the best of my knowledge that is a very true statement, wouldn’t each person treat all situations differently? Maybe some people need to be driven or they can never accomplish anything or learn. You always respect and appreciate the rags to riches story. The person who came from nothing and made a better life for themselves. Maybe that person needed to be put in a poor scenario to establish drive and motivation. If that was taken away because of even distribution of wealth, then how would that life have ended? Also wouldn’t the starting out in humble beginnings allows one to appreciate the flip side of life? It may or may not instill a humility, but the option is now there, as well as all the other lessons of life.
That’s what drives and motivates me, knowing I can reach a goal and be rewarded for it. When I see a challenge I want to tackle it, taking it on ten fold. If I have a goal to reach, I will work myself silly trying to reach it. However, if I was just handed “things” and never felt the sense of pride or contribution, then I would not respect the handout as much, if at all. I would never want to strive for what I think is better. Worse, if what I worked for was taken from me, not by my choice, and given to someone else. How would my actions change?
Sometimes lessons of life do not create a fairytale ending. Sometimes they are just horrible and tragic. But doesn’t that give us the opportunity to turn such darkness into light? It’s not fair my brother died so young and sudden, for no apparent reason except God said it was his time. It’s not fair that my nephew will never know his dad or grow up without a father. Our family has made the most out of the cards we were dealt. We never walk around saying, “It’s not fair.” Never! Instead, we’ve all stepped up our game, as with other friends and family. I’ve been blessed to witness and be apart of such acts of kindness and sincerity over the years from others. Sometimes it was just a pat on the back or words of encouragement and sometimes it came in the form of action and activity. Even a simple invite or inclusion into an activity makes a world of difference. I’m blessed in my life, and no it’s not fair but I’m fine with that.
This is a bit silly and simplistic, but I think it’s just the story to put my thoughts into plain English, common sense. My cat, Storm believes she is one of the dogs, our Labradors. She want’s to do everything they do, including taking hikes through the woods. Alas, this would not be safe for her if she ever wondered off while we were hiking, or worse, adventured off on her own at night. She meows at the door and angrily flips her tail to show her disdain for the situation. It’s just not fair. Nope, it’s not but it’s the way it is. Storm is allowed to do things the dogs can’t, like being on the furniture and she gets to take more car rides than the dogs and so on and so forth. The dogs get to take hikes but get more attention than the cat. I understand I am making a rather feeble attempt at an Aesop’s Fable (I have no idea if there is one similar to this story) but certainly worth the calories burnt to ponder the simple thought.
Instead of focusing on “Life’s not fair”, shouldn’t we be exclaiming the obvious question? ‘What can I do to help my fellow brother or sister?’
My CCD teacher told us this story and I always come back to it. Forgive me for butchering it, but the lesson is the same. He was in a very poverty stricken area, I can’t remember where, maybe South America doing missionary work. He told us of this small child who was bouncing a ball. Just playing with this rubber ball up a dirt road, which overlooked a very steep bank filled with garbage, sewage and rats. As the child was self entertained, the ball happened to hit a rock sideways and was projected out of control. Yep, you guessed it, the fun bouncing ball made a direct course of action for the filth down in the ravine. Lost forever! Did the child whine or cry? Nope! The young person, wearing only rags, continued on their route toward their straw hut with a dirt floor. That was the only toy the child had, and now there was no more.
My teacher was actually on the way to visit the family, helping with the child’s sick sibling. That’s how he knew the living conditions. What my teacher witnessed made an impact on me. I can’t even imagine the thoughts that would have erupted, if I witnessed this story first hand. Is it fair that some live in extreme poverty? Nope but that’s why we are called to reach out with what resources we have, to make a difference.
Mother Teresa is a perfect example of that. She wanted to make a difference. She never said, “It’s not fair” that no one is helping me with the sick, or no one is giving me money. Nope, she took the resources she had and made a difference. Is it fair that she had such a strong relationship with God and I’m not that tight with him? If I want that, then I need to work for it. God gave us plenty of opportunities to establish and build that relationship. Each one of us have a different purpose in life and are called for specific reasons.
So really, maybe ‘Life isn’t fair’ should be tied directly to respect? If we truly respect one another and respected all the things we have, then we wouldn’t be saying ‘Life isn’t fair’. We would be more willing to lend a helping hand or give generously.
If a friend bought me something, more often then not I would take extra special care of it. However, if I was given the same gift without a face or a reason behind the charity, then it would loose some of its value and not be treated with equal importance. Charity and giving is all about the intent. Not the notoriety and certainly not for selfish reasons.
It’s our job to help our brothers and sisters far and wide. To help, from one person to another. That’s what really makes the impact. Not being forced to give my money in the form of taxes or some other undercover way, even if it is to assist those in need. Yes, helping others is the end game, but the road traveled to get there is equally as important. Giving, should be benefiting both parties involved, those that gave and those that received. Naturally, the rewards are very different, yet equally as important.
So I guess, when I see that something “is not fair”, that really means, there’s an opportunity there to make a difference.