Life isn't fair. It isn't going to be fair. Stop sniveling and whining and go out and make it happen for you. Nick ButlerSo, if life isn't fair, why do we keep looking for fairness? Why do we keep believing there's gotta be some fair and equitable way to balance what I want with what you want when what we want is different -- and both of us believe its fair to get what we want?
Remember when you were a kid and somebody took your toy, or got the best seat on the bus (always), or got to be the room monitor every day? It just wasn't fair. I mean, you deserved it just as much. You worked just as hard. How come she always got to pick first? How come he always got to sit at the front?
'Cause contrary to popular belief, life isn't fair. And it ain't gonna change.
Yesterday, I walked onto our second floor day area and chatted for a bit with an older client. A nice woman, she's always pleasant, always helpful, volunteers constantly, is always looking for things to do that will keep her busy. When she came to the shelter two years ago, she had a sad story of a life continually lived on the margins. After twenty-five years in a common-law marriage, her partner had died and his kids were claiming everything for themselves. Their apartment was rented. She had no money to pay the rent and was evicted. She ended up at the shelter, confused, frightened and alone. We did our best to get her legal aid and to get her pension issues straightened out. Even found her an apartment of her own -- and that's when fairness took a back seat to the reality. Reality is, she had underlying mental health issues and an addiction that kicked in as soon as she was on her own and feeling isolated from the larger community at the shelter. Within weeks, we had to move her belongings into storage and find her a bed once again at the shelter.
Life isn't fair.
This woman deserves a place of her own. But, life hasn't handed her the tools to deal with whatever is going on within her so that she can live independently. And, the social network has too many holes for her to fall through to be able to catch her and hold her in safety. A shelter isn't the ideal solution for her, but, it is the only solution that is keeping her from harm.
Life isn't fair.
Later, one of our counsellors walked into my office to ask me to help a client who had come to see him with a tale of woe about being robbed and beaten and left to die on a journey that wound its way around the globe from Mexico to Panama to the Philippines and back to Canada, the land of his birth. "He's got some talent as a web-designer," the counsellor said. "I checked out the website he sent me to. Is there anything we can do to help him get back on his feet? Do we need any help with the website or is there anyone you know who might give him a job?" It was a wild story that sounded too weird to be true. "Let me check it out," I said. "But first, give me his name so I can check out his story."
Sure enough, upon investigation, the man has a track record as a conman. Several websites caution anyone from having anything to do with him. There's nothing fair in what he's done to trick others out of their money. And there's nothing fair about him coming to a homeless shelter to try to con those who are trying to help other's get back on their feet out of their time and energy.
Life isn't fair. And we as humans don't always act in fairness to each other.
So what's with our quest for fairness?
I have struggled most of my life to avoid dealing with reality. To face what is without yearning for what was, or what can never be. It has been a bumpy ride getting to this place where I can step up to the plate, look life squarely in the eye and say, "Throw me your best shot. I'm ready to deal with whatever you've got, not what I wish you'd throw."
In facing reality, I let go of my ego's last bastion of self-defence. I let go of my need to manipulate what's going on into some palatable bite I can chew off. Today, I'm chomping down on reality, filling my plate with all life has to offer. I'm gnashing at the bit, raring to get going on dealing with what is -- whether it's fair or not, it's what's on my plate. I'm giving up being a picky eater and chowing down on life's delicious course of endless possibility. My challenge is not to make it fit my worldview. My challenge is to make the most of it fit into my cup of abundance flowing over with opportunity.
Sometimes, we just gotta spit out our disbelief and face reality.
This is life. It ain't always fair. It is what we've got to deal with. It is what we make it.
The question is: Are you reeling in disbelief, trying desperately to manipulate what is into something that it isn't? Are you willing to stand up, face life square in the face and call out, 'throw me your best shot. I'm making life happen right now. I'm ready for a home run, whatever you thow.'