I’ve been thinking of the concept of fairness. About how we human beings have a certain timeline in our heads about what is right and just.
You are born. You struggle and climb and claw your way out of, well, something. You find the perfect mate with good teeth. You have children, who you set up little college accounts for. They grow up going to church and wearing plaid jumpers. They study and play monopoly. You clasp your hands over your mouth when they make the deans list. Someday, they take you out to brunch and thank you for all your hard work over a chai tea latte and scones. They get married, all white and blushing and beautiful. Then, you’ll start babysitting chubby little grandchildren while your offspring jet off to their medical practices or CPA offices. Satisfied, you and the better half drive off into the sunset on an RV retirement adventure. You slowly grow old and can’t remember to turn off the toaster. Finally, you die. Everyone grieves and brings casseroles. It’s cool. You lived a full life. Death happens.
This, my friends, is fairness. It’s the natural order of things. Anything less is not open to discussion. And yet despite this view of life, unfair things happen all the time. A young mother dies of cancer leaving two small children confused and broken. Her husband prayed. Her mother prayed. But survival was not to be. She was just fine one day, and then she wasn’t. What about the plan? She was only 32 years old. What about the brunch and the scones and the chubby grandchildren? What if your spouse died and left only a pile of dirty laundry behind? There is no love letter or made-for-television novel or some grand exit. He was just there, and then he wasn’t. Where is God? Why did this happen? How will the children make it? Your fairness timetable is all screwed up.
So in order to protect ourselves, and not end up heavily medicated, we ignore reality. We draw a circle around us and stay in close. Like if we are home on a Saturday afternoon doing laundry, ill fate will not befall us. Like we can somehow escape death. After all, we aren’t those people. We aren’t that family. The end will come to us at a more appropriate time. Like when our children are all grown or our minds start to fade. We’ll bite the dust watching reruns in housedresses and slippers, screaming into the phone while our kids tell us to turn up our hearing aids.
“The race is not to the swift. . .” the Bible says, “nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11. This explains why the Kardashian sisters are walking around in nine-hundred-dollar shoes while children are starving in Africa. Or why Hugh Hefner is still bouncing around the Playboy mansion with a fake tan. Because life, my friends, is not at all fair. It doesn’t follow our rules. “For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.” Ecclesiastes 9:12.
I hate it when people say “it was his time” or “it was all God’s plan” when someone dies. Really? A seven-year-old chose to die? God planned for a young mother to come down with cancer, leaving two kids behind? I hope that’s not the case. I think we just get caught in snares, and can’t weave our way out.
So you wake up tomorrow. Victory! It’s true that you still must scrub toilets and go to work and suffer from headaches. You still get annoyed when your kids scream, and sometimes you pour cereal only to realize you are out of milk. Those stupid allergies make you crazy and you feel overwhelmed at work. You go out to eat and get fat and don’t have any energy and are the only one who unloads the dishwasher.
Re-evaluate your life to see what really matters. Be thankful you have children to raise and friends to talk to. Get your head out of the television and start seeing what’s around you. You have the unique perspective that others don’t. You actually have some element of control over your decisions and the words you speak and what do you with the hours in your day. This weekend, I started to watch an online movie preview of some stupid movie I knew I wouldn’t like. I thought to myself – that’s three minutes of time on this earth wasted.
Think of your days as numbered, and your hours having value. You just might start to change some habits. And then, you’ll really start living with no regrets.