Hey! No fair!…
We have uttered these words hundreds of times in our lives. Every parent has heard it yelled out in every park, sports event, and livingroom… We have thought it when looking at the way others have treated us, the way others have been treated, perhaps even the way we have treated ourselves. We seem to have this idea that if circumstances aren’t how we think they should be they are ‘unfair’.
Come on let’s face it relationships are unfair, love is unfair, school is unfair, work is unfair, even dessert is unfair! (his piece is bigger than mine! or what do you mean you are out of my favourite pie?) All parents know the seating arrangement in the back of the car is unfair (this especially holds true for the youngest child that always get stuck with the middle seat) Everything is just plain unfair!
But is it really? Is everything really unfair? Is life unfair?
That is the question… seriously THE question… is.life.unfair?
…but what is the answer? How can we know that? How do we touch that? How do we do that question justice? How can we even come close to providing an adequate answer to that? HOW?!?!?!
Every one has a story, everyone has experienced hurt, everyone knows rejection, fear, pain, sadness… But does this mean life is actually unfair? What is unfair? What does the term ‘unfair’ mean? Literally what does it mean?
1. Not based on or behaving according to the principles of equality and justice.
2. Unkind, inconsiderate, or unreasonable: “you’re unfair to criticize like that when she’s never done you any harm”.
Synonyms: unjust – inequitable – wrongful – dishonest – iniquitous
Personally I did not find that helpful… it raises too many other questions, like who defines equality and justice? Who gets to decide the basis of unfair? Do we base fairness on experience? Would that be collective experience or personal experience? Is it decided by law makers and rulers? Do we each come up with our personal definition? Can it be an individual decision? Does it vary from person to person? Is it a question of religious belief? How do we come to terms with what is and isn’t appropriately fair, and can we impose our ideal of said fairness upon others?
I understand that both life and people can appear to be cruel for no reason. Ask the victims of violent crime if life is fair. Ask the rape survivor. Ask the child whose parent was taken away by illness. Ask the parent who has lost a child. Ask anyone suffering from illness. And it seems to me that fairness is not limited to the human realm. Tell the baby antelope as the lion takes it down that life is fair. Tell the mother antelope. Tell the herd. Life can seem brutally unfair. Yet fairness gets all twisted up when we start truly analyzing it. Now reverse the scenario, tell the lion when they’ve missed and they have to go another nite without food about what is fair. Tell the cubs, tell the pride. Perspective is a powerful thing. But does this unfairness diminish life’s goodness? Does it counter the beauty in the world? Do we choose to let it tarnish the heart?
And perhaps that is the real question after all… Perhaps it isn’t about fairness… Perhaps it is about our perspective, about what we choose to hold in our hearts and how we let these experiences shape and mould us. We can become downtrodden, beaten up and just give in to despair. Or we can rise up, learn, be strengthened, and move forward. It’s hard. Sometimes giving in can seem so inviting. But not really. Giving in can’t be a viable choice. Defeat is not an option. We must live life vicariously, with tenacity… be vibrant. Let your light shine in the face of the opressive darkness.
The unfairness of life can overcome you, or you can overcome the unfairness of life…
So shout it to mountain tops “Life might be unfair, but it’s still good!”