Life is unfair. Have you ever found yourself thinking that? Just know that I’m over here on this end with my hand raised. I’ve murmured it to myself. I’ve said it to my children as they plead against some deserved punishment by arguing that “it isn’t fair.” It’s the easy and exhausted parental way out of the conversation….life is not fair.
But it’s a harsh reality to wrestle and make peace with. Why do some children get tucked into bed in a two million dollar mansion and others sleep in the back of a car? If they are lucky enough to have a car. I met two little girls this week that the latter was their reality. Two beautiful little girls, whose parents love them just as much as any good parent loves their children. Whose parents work just as hard to provide for them as any other parent does. But life happened as life often does. A long distance move seeking a better life. Mixed with unexpected events, delays, and an overdrawn bank account. Life has a way of making what you think is certain collide with what can’t be easily reconciled.
The journey of walking through a difficult season in our lives exposes every faulty thing we build our happiness upon. When the ground begins to shake a little, and life as you know it becomes blurred and the future uncertain, the first thing to go is your peace. Followed by your sense of security, comfort, and contentment.
My husband and I are currently walking through a season of chaos. How many balls can a person juggle at one time? We are setting a new record. My heart hasn’t fully been able to process it all yet.
But the reality is that even on my worst day, someone else might look at my life and long for it in exchange of their own reality.
We live in a FOMO culture. Fear of missing out. Millions of dollars are spent on marketing campaigns to suggest more stuff that we need. That nagging suggestion that you’re missing something you don’t currently have. Social media breeds this as well. We post the best versions of our lives. The filtered version. No one ever posts a picture of the report card that shows a child failing in school. Or the final notice from the utility company that electric is about to be shut off, hashtag final notice. It doesn’t happen because those aren’t circumstances anyone would want for their life.
In this wrestle with thinking life is unfair, of fearing we are missing out, we must be so careful.
It’s an elusive chase that does not end well. It will make you feel like Alice in Wonderland chasing that white rabbit. But beware. It’s a trap in which there is no wonderland to be discovered. That rabbit hole does not lead to an adventure at all.
It leads to lack of gratitude. Bitterness. Envy. Misery. And here’s the ugliest truth that is painful to swallow:
It leads to wishing away this life right in front of me that deep down….I love with my whole heart. The laughter of my children. The sloppy noises my dog makes when he is consuming food (it’s really, really disgusting you guys). The little daily messes and heaps of laundry. The bills that pile up. The prayers that have yet to be answered. The family member I am borrowing worry over. The house that just sold and the upcoming move to a location we have yet to find. This beautiful life.
If I jump into the rabbit hole of thinking that I’ve missed the path somehow, then that means I also miss all the beautiful events and faces on this path that I find myself on.
Even if there are parts of it I’d rather bypass.
We are each given a path to walk. Sometimes it’s a path we’ve chosen and sometimes it’s a path that life seems to have chosen for us.
Either way, it’s ours to walk. No one else’s. Yes, life is unfair sometimes. Yes, there are things on this side of eternity that there are no easy, black and white answers for. But no one’s life is without pain, struggle, or asking the hard questions we all wrestle with. No one. Even if someone else’s life seems easier or more privileged.
There is no happiness to be found in comparing our path to someone else’s. Contentment is giving yourself whole heartedly to this path you are on. That is your best life.