Friday, August 28, 2020

It's not fair

 Last week, a good friend wrote me about the concept of ‘fair.’ Or maybe it was the concept of ‘unfair’ – they run together.  I’ve been thinking about it all week.
Is it fair that my youngest brother Gregg was born brain-damaged?
Is it fair when you’re fired (or as a HR friend of mine has told me it’s called ‘laid off’), for no reason or fabricated reasons?
Is it fair when you have helped people, without a quid pro quo, but when you could use their help they’re not there for you?
Is it fair when a family member or close friend or business colleague gets cancer or another life-ending disease?  It’s bad enough when that person is 90 but it’s different when that person is 65 (like my first wife, Sharon, the mother of my sons) or even younger?
Is life fair?
I always thought it should be. But it’s not.  It’s simply not.
Why? We just don’t know.  There’s no rationale to it.  There is no rhyme or reason to it. 
And, when something happens, and you say to yourself, “That’s just not fair” well, it probably is not fair and that’s the most difficult part.  It’s not fair.
As much as people may suggest you can rationalize things – “Oh, that happened because of this or because of that” – most things didn’t happen because of this or because of that – they just happened.
If I travel to a country that is experiencing an epidemic – because I want to help - and something happens to me – well, that’s not fair because I was doing something good.  But I made a decision to go and there was a reason I wanted to go and I understood the risks.   But it’s still not fair that I should die or get sick while helping other people.
The fireman that died on September 11 were doing their jobs – to save people’s lives.  Was it fair that they died?  (Can you believe that in a couple of weeks it’ll be 19 years!!). 
The people in the armed forces, of any nation on earth, who die in battle – many/most of them very young – is that fair?
I’m going out on a limb here to suggest that all of us have had something, or multiple things, that were ‘not fair’ happen to them or a loved one, or a work colleague, or a personal friend.  And, are there are degrees of ‘not fair’ with the ultimate ‘not fair’ being contracting a disease of some sort and having the doctor tell you, ‘You probably have only a year to live’ (Although in many cases it’s less than that as it was with my mother who, out of nowhere, like so much of this stuff happens, was diagnosed with brain cancer and told that she only had a few months to live. But in her case, when they told her she was already in a state of mind where she couldn’t comprehend what they were telling her.  But my brother and I could).  Why did she die at 68?  It wasn’t fair.
And we’re living in a world now that’s ‘not fair.’  What did we do to deserve this?  Why are we being punished?  It’s not fair.  But what we’re living through right now is another example of things being ‘not fair.’  Other than doing our best to take care of ourselves and our loved ones during this insane time, there’s nothing else we can do – try as we might. 
This is out of our control – at least for now.  Just like it’s out of anyone’s control when they’re given a horrible diagnosis.  Or when they’re killed or seriously injured in an auto accident with a drunk driver.  Or shot on the street in a gang war when you’re not even part of either gang.  Or run over by a car who has run a red light. Or be in an airplane that’s shot down by terrorists or where a bomb explodes.  Or when anything happens to someone that shouldn’t happen, that only happens because life, sadly, is not fair.
Letting go of things that are ‘not fair’ is not easy – to say the least.  Forgiving someone for something they did, on purpose, to hurt you is one thing.  But who do you forgive when someone dies, so young?  What did they do to deserve that fate?  Nothing!  And that’s why it’s so difficult to accept that life is just not fair and there’s nothing we can do about it and that’s the frustrating thing. And that’s why we need to take time each day to be mindful of how precious today is, one more day, and to remember that no matter what happened in the past it’s today that really matters.  The past is gone.  The future has not arrived.  We only have today.  Embrace today. Be grateful for today.  And remember that we can’t explain why bad things happen to good people.  That’s the saddest thing of all.  It’s just not fair. 
Stay safe my friends and be kind to each other. 


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