Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Life Is Not Fair

David List left this comment on my last post:

"Well this was real as real can be. Thank you.

And I was held by your writing. So the people who say otherwise can go frump a goat!

I sure hope the migraines have relented. That's not exactly a fair reward for you having a heart for children."

I started to reply and found that in that reply I had material for a new post!  Some of you are not remotely surprised by this, given the length of a comment I have left on YOURS.

It was the last sentence that struck me.  "That's not exactly a fair reward for you having a heart for children."

I said a few other things, but here is when I felt myself gearing up in my response: " Have you noticed that life doesn't operate on a Fairness System? Being a good person isn't a guarantee of anything. Fame, fortune, success, good relationships, happy marriage, health... nothing. I would write more, but I think I feel a blog post coming on, so I will save it."

One of my earliest memories is of my father saying, "Robin, who ever told you that life was going to be fair?"  This was usually uttered after my rant about how "unfair" something was.  When I was a child it could have been after stubbing my toe or simply not getting my way.   Yeah, like that.  Little did I know that it was the tip of a very large iceberg.

Life doesn't operate on a Fairness System. Period.  Good people don't always come out on top.  Nice guys do finish last.  Artists often die before their work becomes noticed, famous, and "worth something."  Being a good person doesn't mean that you will roll 7's in Vegas or 7's in your relationship choices.  It doesn't mean you won't suffer with chronic illness or get cancer.  Being good at heart doesn't mean that your life will be any better or more FAIR.

There is an older lady from our church whose husband was in stage four cancer.  She had to go to the hospital for a colonoscopy and they found something, so she was admitted.  He became very ill while she was still there and also ended up at the hospital.  She went down to his room to see him and he coded and died.  She is still in the hospital waiting to have her procedure.  Not exactly a fair reward for all of those years of marriage.

A high school friend of mine has a son who just died of a brain tumor.  Approximately two years ago the tumor was found and chemo/radiation started.  All seemed well.  Then, it came back.  So, they did more chemo.  Again, it seemed under control until it wasn't.  After it came back the third time it did so aggressively.  He passed away a couple of weeks ago.  He was thirteen years old.  His family will never be the same.  My friend said, "It's been a tough week and, while it's cliche, I finally understand the power of 'one day at a time.' Because when I think about surviving the next 30+ years without him, there's no way I can do it. But I can survive today. I was so blessed to know him. The best 13 years of my life." 

Another high school friend married two times and BOTH of her husbands were diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and died.  The first one died just after they had their first child.  The second one died just after they had their first child (together).  So, she is now raising two children alone and grieving the death of her second husband.  

No.  Life is not fair.

What life gives us is grace.  If you haven't been smacked in the solar plexus by Life, all I can tell you is "look out."  Life doesn't play favorites.  We all get it in some way or another.  And some of us get more than others.  Each time that Life hits us, we get the opportunity to call on grace.  Are we going to be the child on a rant about the unfairness of it all or are we going to accept what happened and move forward?  

As for me, I have done both.  I have ranted plenty about my ex-husband and all the things HE did that made that marriage so untenable that I became chronically sick and ultimately had to leave.  Did that ranting make me feel better?  Not a lick.  Several years ago, I was at one of the kids' birthday parties and he actually said to me that it was a shame that I started getting migraines AFTER we divorced.  That kicked off another round of ranting all the way home about him having his head up his @ss and what did he think I spent that time in the hospital for... the view???  Not to mention all the puking, every second I spent in bed with something over my eyes, blah blah blah.  I must say that there was no grace in that diatribe.

I wish I could say that I had let it all go when I wrote that post back in July 2010.  But, I still wasn't there.  I wanted to be (which is the first step).  However, I had to accept that he was who he was.  Period.  And I saw signs of that before I married him... of course, I did.  They were the red flags that I waved at, smiled, and kept on cruising toward disaster.  I felt like a victim in that relationship, but only because I CHOSE it.  Accepting THAT has made it possible to let it all go.  Why?  I gained some wisdom.  I was always in charge.  I am still in charge.  And I am smarter now and I will choose better in the future.  A perpetual victim never sees how their own actions brought them where they are and continues to choose the same.  In order to get to grace, I had to forgive not only him, but myself for allowing it.  That was the door to freedom.

Life is not fair.  

Instead, there is Grace.  Wisdom.  Forgiveness. 


  1. Probably not something to offer on a blog but I will anyway. My mom lost twins before me, still born. Then her husband (my dad) was murdered in a dead end alley when she was 9months along with me. The man she met when I was 5, lived with her for 18 years and died. Both parents passed (she took care of her mom for the last year). And now the man she married 8 years ago died last week. She must be very strong for a load like that, or she's a victim of life just not being fair.

    1. I believe that life never hands us more than we can handle, so I would say that your mom must be a very strong woman who has learned the art of grace, forgiveness, and wisdom. Of course, the old adage of not being fair still applies, but I think what is important is what we do AFTER.

  2. FANtastic post. Well said, all the way around.

  3. Of course, Life isn't fair. In no form or fashion is Life ever fair...

    We all have our examples and stories of unfair Life Practices...

    Some people are paralyzed... crippled... when something perceived to be 'unfair' happens to them. Some of us 'retreat'... I am a 'retreater'... I back away and try to understand the 'whos,' 'hows,' and 'whys'...

    I can't remember if I wrote about it on one of my blog posts, or if I posted it as a comment on one of your posts, Robin.

    This is wonderful... as always...


  4. You're absolutely right -- life is not fair.

    It's fleeting and fickle and filled with pain, suffering, sadness,and the eventual death of each and every person who lives it. It's virtually guaranteed that being alive means that we're going to lose people we love, and someday we'll leave behind loved ones who've lost us.

    But thankfully, that's not all that life is. It's also teeming with beauty, hope, love, joy, and wonder. The world is filled with courage and grace -- we need only open our eyes to really see it.

    If there were no night, how could we appreciate the light? If there were no sadness, how would we really know what joy is?

    If we choose, we can focus on that which is good and noble and beautiful, and be a part it, even in the darkest, most hideous situations we might have to endure. We may never be able to control what happens around us, but we can choose to control how we react to it.

    I wish you the wisdom to know life, the courage to face it, the strength to meet it, the resilience to withstand it, the peace to endure it, the grace to thrive in it, and the joy that comes from the millions of tiny bright spots that occur every moment along the way.

  5. Life... it is unfair ... and then you die. That's why you should grab all the joy you can while you can.

  6. Life... it is unfair ... and then you die. That's why you should grab all the joy you can while you can.

  7. That really is the only way to cope with all the crap that happens. Choices, forgiveness, responsibility…you have to sort through them all to find what's yours and what's theirs, and then deal with it so you can move on.

  8. Life is always difficult. That doesn't mean it isn't fun, surprising, amazing, horrifying, and hilarious, too.

  9. And hopefully some bright spots in between the shinola...I lived a relationship where was harder to stay with her than it was to let go (even though had I stayed in it, she was getting ready to walk away on her own).

    It hurt. HURT. But I do not regret the trying.

    I've been lucky-nothing like your migraines, or a divorce. I did lose a loved one all too young (she was 34) and that was hard. But aside from that, I guess life has been decent to me.

    I weather the rough patches by looking at each day as a gift-some of that comes with age, I guess.

    I always hear peop;le grumble about Mondays.

    I'm 52. There are far fewer Mondays left to me than I have lived already, and I will take them all. If I live to my parent's ages when they died, I have 35 years left.

    Undoubtedly there will be crap during those 35 years, but I plan to enjoy every moment I can.

    Life isn't fair. But it is still a wonderful thing.


  10. Joylene ~ Thanks. It wasn't EVERYTHING I had to say on the topic, but who wants to read a blog post for an hour????

    Shoes ~ I think it is fair to step back and speculate during a particularly rough patch. If you don't, how do you know where to go from here???

    Chris ~ Yes. All of that. Yes. If everything were good times, we wouldn't appreciate them. The bad times give us an opportunity to learn, grow, become our best selves. It also makes us appreciate all of the good stuff even more.

    cube ~ Yes, love the heck out of the good times.

    L.G. ~ Sometimes the "knowing what's yours" is the toughest part to sort it. Until we own it, though, we can't learn from it. Thanks!

    Rebecca ~ True enough. Life is more than just unfair. More than grace, wisdom, and forgiveness. It offers everything from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    Larry ~ The truth is that we can ALWAYS find someone who has a "worse" story than our own. It doesn't minimize our pain. Perhaps it lends perspective. I really like your feelings about Mondays. Yes, it is still a wonderful thing...

  11. Basically, Life is a School. And, yes, it is a School Of Hard Knocks. All the Shitty Episodes are really Lessons in disguise.

    As it says in the book 'ILLUSIONS' by Richard Bach:

    "There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts".

    I think most often the "gift" is the learning experience, the "lesson" we need to master in order to graduate to the next class in the School.

    All that having been said...
    ...life sucks.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  12. I could babble about "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," and "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger," etc, but the bottom line is, you're right. Life isn't fair. We can rail against all the injustices thrust upon us and the people around us, or we do our best to take them in stride and keep on keeping on. Attitude is everything. We can look at an event as a catastrophe, or we can see it as an opportunity. Sometimes, it's both.

    Great post, Robin. One of your best.

  13. As a teacher, I have seen numerous young people die, and I know life isn't fair. As a parent, that concept if frightening. You can do everything right and try to protect your children, but life isn't fair.
    I hope your journey continues and with it your health improves.

  14. Stephen ~ I honestly never thought you would be the one to quote from ILLUSIONS. ::color me shocked:: But, yes, I do think that Life is all about Lessons and how well we learn from them. Each time that we truly understand something, we no longer repeat it. In other words, we graduate to the next class. We are on a spiritual journey here. If there were no bad things, our spirit would have nothing to overcome.

    Susan ~ We can look at an event as a catastrophe, or we can see it as an opportunity. Sometimes, it's both. YES. Although, when you are standing right in the hailstorm of the catastrophe, it can be difficult to see the opportunity. I think it is often only later that we realized that all of those "catastrophic" experiences made us stronger, more empathetic, maybe even more loving. It all gives shape and meaning to our lives.

    Susan ~ Yes, you can do everything right and "disaster" can still strike. And does. I am constantly awed and amazed by the grace that I see among my friends in the face of their own personal disasters. It's inspiring. Thank you. Perseverance is the name of this game.

  15. No, indeed life is not fair and most certainly does not play favorites. I'm sorry for the loss of your friends' son. What a horrible thing to have to go through. My hear aches for the little boy who didn't get to live a full life. This post made me smile on the inside.

  16. These are all such tragic stories, and I don't know how parents can ever get over losing a young child. I'm so sorry for your loss Robin. It's very sad what you, and everyone else has been through, and I agree that you have to live with "grace and forgiveness." I still believe that good things do happen to good people, and with hope and patience it will eventually come your way.


  17. Although life is absolutely not fair, I do believe that how we deal with what life hands us makes all the difference in the world.
    Now some of us were not taught well how to deal with things in a way that would maximize our life experience for the better. And we had to keep plugging away until we finally got it. (It is so much easier in life if we at least get a good example to begin with.) And we could sit and bellyache about what never was or what we had to slog through on our own. But the truth is that one way or another, through thick and thin or even just for a fleeting moment, we do eventually all get some chance to influence someone else and we can choose to do something for the better- or not.
    More and more I do feel as if whatever I do, I want to leave something meaningful behind. And I see that although I have not followed the traditional path to making my mark in life through my own children, etc., there are plenty of ways to be someone who means something and make a positive mark. Some people get this right away, I think. That 13 year old was wise beyond his years, no doubt.

  18. You must be familiar with the stage play, "Annie." That's a typical hard-knock life story. Is it fair? Annie, an oprhan, thinks if she finds her parents, her life will be happy forever. What she finds (not her parents because they are really dead) is being adopted by Daddy Warbucks the richest man in the world. His fictional character is patterned after real-life Paul Warburg, a filthy rich pedophile. Suddenly with all the clothes, toys, houses, travel, it appears that Annie's life is now fair.... or is it?

  19. Sadly, discussion of the unfairness of life sometimes turn into contests of who has suffered the most "unfairness", so I will simply say be strong and move on. Sometimes it's the best any of us can do.

  20. An important topic worthy of discussion! It's true. Life isn't fair, but that doesn't mean we can take it in stride and live the best life we can. How? That's completely up to the needs and dreams of the individual, to which each of us has our own. :)

  21. "What life gives us is grace. If you haven't been smacked in the solar plexus by Life, all I can tell you is "look out." Life doesn't play favorites." Absolutely LOVE it! So spot on...on the mark! Bravo for you sweet Robin! Young'uns these days are always boasting about how life is not fair. Why on earth would anyone think it was? Absolutely loved, adored this post! I love it when you get down & dirty & keep it real! Big hugs...xoxo

  22. Yvonne ~ My heart aches for them, too. He was a special kid and I know that he changed their perspective on a lot of things by the way he handled his illness. Actually, not only theirs... but on many people. If we make people's lives richer just by being in them, even it is only for a short time, it's still a gift, no?

    Empty Nest Insider ~ See the comment above for you, too. The name of my game has been Perseverance. Ten years later, I have finally found a doctor who is advising things that are actually making a positive difference. The key is just not giving up!!!!

    Jasmine ~ Ah, yes. What if we grew up in a home that didn't understand grace and forgiveness? And there wasn't much wisdom??? It makes it much more difficult to embrace these things. I know that you found people later in life who lived these qualities and they made sense to you. They changed you in a life-altering way, setting you on the path of the amazing person you are today. I am not a big believer in coincidence. I think that your human nature was inclined this way already, so like a magnet seeks like... so did you. (See also the comment for Yvonne... yes, he was.)

    Manzanita ~ I am familiar with the play Annie. I didn't know that the story was modeled on that of a pedophile gaining custody of a young girl. That just makes it creepy. Nothing to sing happy songs about in that situation. Your take on these posts always provides food for thought...

    LD ~ I only brought up other people's examples of how life has been unfair to show that unfairness strikes everyone and everywhere. There is no point in comparing pain. In fact, you can always find someone who has it worse than you (no matter who you are). The point was that in the midst of what life is handing out you can choose to embrace grace, wisdom, and forgiveness. It's all about what you do AFTER.

    David ~ Exactly. How we deal with life's unfairness is what sets us apart.

    Mitzi ~ I learned that lesson early with my dad. Why should anyone expect fairness?? It was never promised to you. But how you deal with is... that is all you. Thank you for coming by, Mitzi. I've missed you!

  23. Robin
    Most people don't think Annie is political but just entertaining and a story that came out of the writers imagination. FDR was a friend of Daddy Warbucks and Daddy (think his name was Oliver) was on the phone to FDR a lot and then he came into Warbucks home. In real life Warburg and FDR ran the government together. A lot of this stuff, one has to dig for and I do. Paul Warburg's wife had said she thought he was a pedophile. I'm sure this entered into the writers story line. I love the music from Annie and I try not to think about the scumbag. Warburg.

    1. See Stephen's comment below... did you know that already????

  24. You have both a wisdom and beauty about you, Robin. I appreciate you and fully resonate with your message.

    PS Will write back soon. =)

    1. Thank you. I thought that message hit you right in your feeling place.

  25. ROBIN ~
    I'm glad I returned here. I came back to give you a URL to something I think you'll find interesting (if you're not already very familiar with it), but seeing your response to my earlier comment, and reading Manzanita's comments, I definitely have more to share than just one URL.

    First, about 'ILLUSIONS' by Richard Bach... In early 1994, 'THE HOLY BIBLE' became my Bible. But prior to that, 'ILLUSIONS' was my bible, and I used to read it every New Year's Eve, just to get the next year started out on the right foot. (I still think it’s loaded with truths, and one of my all-time favorite quotations is: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours”.)

    As a matter of fact, I quoted from 'ILLUSIONS' on your blog once before - quite some time ago. But I think that was in the comment I later deleted because I got upset with you about something. I suspect the reason you don't remember me mentioning ‘ILLUSIONS’ previously is because I don't think you were "listening" to me back then; I was just some "unknown commenter" whom you paid little attention to.

    Now... Manzanita mentioned Paul Warburg in connection with the story 'ANNIE'. I'll tell you something else about Paul Warburg: Warburg was actually a representative of the Rothschild international banking dynasty and he was one of the small handful of men MOST responsible for the establishment of the FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM in the U.S. He was one of the men who attended the secret pre-Fed meeting at Jekyll Island which ultimately led to the Federal Reserve Banking system here in America.

    All of that is revealed in the truly masterful tome 'THE CREATURE FROM JEKYLL ISLAND: A Second Look At The Federal Reserve' by G. Edward Griffin. If you are really serious about learning the ins and outs of the 'New World Order' conspiracy, then you NEED to read that particular book; it is an essential reference source. I reviewed it here:


    But that’s not even the URL I came here to share with you (that was just a spontaneous act inspired by Manzanita’s comment).

    I came here to ask if you are very familiar with the movie ‘NETWORK’? And if you’re not, then you might want to read a couple of quotes I pulled from the movie and just posted in a comment section on my own blog.

    If you go HERE...


    ...and scroll down the comments to where Bryan of ‘A BEER FOR THE SHOWER’ posted a comment TODAY (11/13/2013), you’ll see that he is giving me feedback on the movie ‘NETWORK’, which I had recommended to him.

    Just underneath his comment, you’ll find my 2-part response in which I quote (in bold type) a couple of monologues from that movie. If you read those quotes, keeping ‘The New World Order Conspiracy’ in mind while you do so, I think you will be quite surprised by how much “political reality” Hollywood let out of the bag when it made the movie ‘NETWORK’.

    I even thought about posting a new blog bit with those quotations in it, primarily for YOUR benefit / “entertainment”, but then I thought: Oh, just go to Robin’s blog and post a URL to it in her most recent comment section.

    So... there it was.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    1. Stephen,

      The truth is that I always found your comments to be interesting. You were never someone whose comments I just discarded. You tend (like me) to be a prolific commenter. Just sayin'.

      I think you got upset with me over that blog you posted about Susan. Was that her name? I said something to the effect that people should live their faith and not talk about it and you thought I was meaning YOU. I wasn't. I was referring to her. Anyway, I am glad you eventually figured that out or got over it. I am not sure which one is the case. Or even if I am right about the inciting incident... but that is what I think happened.

      As for Illusions... I still love that book. I don't read it annually or anything, but there is a lot of truth in there.

      I will check out the comments on your blog regarding the movie Network. I am sometimes surprised by the amount of "truth" that filters through media outlets. I have come to the conclusion that they have either decided that it's too late to save anything (so what's the point of hiding it?) or that most people will choose to believe it's fiction. Either way, they don't see any real Change happening because of it....

  26. ROBIN ~
    No, it wasn't the blog bit about Susan "Short Little Rebel" Shannon. This took place quite awhile before that, when we scarcely knew each other. But it's totally irrelevant now - gone and over with - so there's no point in even dredging up details about it. It'z all good, Sister!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    POSTSCRIPT: I decided to make a new blog bit outta my comments anyway and after all, so no need to visit the comment section I gave the URL for. If interested, you can just visit my newest blog bit - it's all there now and in a better format.

  27. Robin, my friend, you know I could say so much. This will suffice: You have it together.

  28. Hey Robin,
    I'm glad to have stopped by again today. What stands out to me the most in the above post and comments is a) we aren't given something we can't handle and b)it will always be up to us how we handle it. The sooner we realize that, the better off we'll be.
    Life will go on, with or without us.

  29. Oh Robin. Life is NOT fair. But life gives us grace. My heart hurts with the truth of this. I pray for grace. I beg for grace. I worship grace. I feel you healing. Please tell me I am right.

  30. Stephen ~ Well, I am glad that it's all good. Airing your opinion strongly tends to put you in hot water occasionally (I am sure that this has never happened to you:) BUT I say what I do with love. And respect. I did read the link and the new blog bit. I need to jump back over there and check the comments...

    JJ ~ So much better.

    David ~ Yes. Absolutely. I think life does sometimes overwhelm us and we go through a period of being lost. But, staying lost forever is simply not healthy. At some point, that decision is made to find a stronghold and persevere.

    Liza ~ Yes, you are right. I am so much better than I was. I still have chronic migraines, but they are (usually) not as severe. I am not taking any pain medication of any kind and haven't been since February. I truly believe that not putting that crap into my system is helping me improve - even on the days when my migraine is terrible. Eating better, going through tapping therapy, less meds... it has all helped me make great strides toward better health. For the first time in years, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. It might be another year before I am not rocking a migraine every day BUT I think that time is coming. I am not sure I thought that was true a few years ago. Jan 2013 was the ten year mark on having a migraine EVERY day. When I hit year five, I think I accepted it as my "new reality," even though I hated it. The great thing about reality is that it is a fluid thing. My new new reality is looking more like NOT having a migraine every day.

    I will say this, though... thank God for grace. It got me through it. And forgiveness. It's the only path I know to releasing the old junk. I now think wisdom is just a by-product of the other two... ha!

  31. What you wrote is exactly what I went through with my ex. I left him but I continued to rant about how terrible he had been for several years, then one day I decided to stop, cos it was helping me move on. Life is still a struggle but am happier cos had I continued to depend on him it would only make me feel more depressed.


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