Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Right! Unfair!

I’ve been coping pretty well with things…you know, all things considered.

Today though, I’m feeling mad. Really mad. I want to rail against the Fates for the unfair burdens that have come my way. And they are unfair. But that being said, does it matter? And if so, to whom does it matter? I mean besides to me, because of course it matters to me.

I’m ticked off that I’ve spent all of my life so far doing everything I’m supposed to do. I got good grades in elementary school. I finished high school in the top 5% of my class. I worked in high school and college. I graduated from college Magna Cum Laude. Got a job with a company that would transition from “job” to “career”. I went to graduate school. I got married and then received my Master’s Degree five months after my wedding. I got a promotion and worked my tail off so my husband could finish school. Got my counseling license. Got pregnant. Bought a house. Got another promotion. Had a baby. Started teaching at the university. Just started coursework for an advanced counseling certificate. I’ve walked the line (I’m humming Johnny Cash right now), but I’m not anywhere near finished.

Doesn’t anyone see? I did all of that, and for the most part, I did it well and I did it in the “right” order. I’m proud of working hard and doing things well. But how is it fair that in spite of everything, I feel like I’m standing on top of a smoking pile of rubble—a pile of rubble that used to be my nicely organized life—and trying to figure out where in the heck I’m supposed to even find a stable spot to start putting things back together?

I get it. Doing everything in the “right” order doesn’t mean the early years of marriage weren’t financially tough. And it doesn’t mean that the time spent trying to have a child didn’t seem like forever. “Right” didn’t make my pregnancy or delivery (or post-delivery) easy. “Right” doesn’t mean my daughter isn’t chronically ill (thought blessedly, she’s been healthy for a whole month!). The “right” order didn’t stop my marriage from crumbling nearly to the point of complete and utter destruction four years ago, nor did it make the past four years easy as the pieces were slowly turned and shifted to form something new and different that’s still a marriage, but a very different marriage. “Right” doesn’t bring my husband’s job back. And “right” sure as heck didn’t stop a small cluster of cells from turning into cancer, a seemingly minor cancer (if there is such a thing)—but nonetheless is having a permanent impact on my life. “Right” doesn’t seem to matter one little bit in the big picture.

And is that fair? Of course not. Duh. If life was fair, I’d be living in a sprawling brick ranch on 5 acres of property, floating in a pool with my children splashing around me and the puppy chasing butterflies in the sunshine. And I wouldn’t have stretch marks from being pregnant. And no cellulite, either.

My house would be clean and organized. The laundry would be washed, dried, folded or on hangers AND put away. It most certainly would not be sitting in baskets at the foot of the bed! There wouldn’t be any mystery stains on the carpet—because there’d be hardwood floors (or maybe bamboo floors) throughout. The deck wouldn’t need to be sanded and stained. There would be nice patio furniture so we could eat outside on nice days. Life would be peaceful.

I’d work if I wanted to, but I wouldn’t have to. Come to think of it, my husband wouldn’t “have to” work, either. We’d be independently wealthy. No, I don’t know how that would happen. It’s my fantasy life—I can figure out the logistics of it later.

If life was “fair”, things would be different. Drastically different. And yet, if life was “fair”, I think that I wouldn’t be who I am now. Maybe I’d be better. Maybe not. But I would be different. I’m not sure if the price of “fairness” is worth it. I like who I am for the most part (besides the whole stretch mark/cellulite thing), so I know I wouldn’t want to change that too much.

I’m feeling like everything I planned for in my life has been ripped away and I’m left standing empty-handed.

Of course, if I’m standing empty-handed, that means my hands are free to hang on and then catch whatever else might come my way. Taking the good with the bad, right?


Jim Latchford said...

Feel better? Probably not... Still, as always, you do such a superb job in nailing down your feelings...as fleeting as disconcerting as they may be. I, like you, am not sure that everyone in life has a cross to bear. Some folks seem to have it all together while the rest of us struggle on a nearly daily basis to keep it all together. "That's life," as my 24 year old daughter is fond of saying...she who needs $4,000 worth of crowns on her teeth and no extra money to do so. Still we persevere with as much determination as we can muster to face our daily trials and tribulations hoping if not believing that the path before us will smooth out just a bit so we can appreciate and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Here's what I know...you are worthy...and that is what is "right" in your world and in mine. "Fair" hasn't anything to do with it. That's just life. Taking the good with the bad and, like you said, hanging on and reaching out to embrace what may come our way. In the final analysis, it is important that we not only be true to ourselves, but to be true to truth as the guiding principle in navigating through life. For in the end, as the Beetles so profoundly stated, the love we take is equal to the love we make. We take nothing out of this life, but what we choose to leave behind will define who we were in the lives of the people we touched. And if it is bestowed in love and compassion, we indeed will have lived a righteous life. I can live with that and let "right" and "fair" take what's left over...

Cheryl said...

Jim left such an awesome comment that I'm left speechless. Almost.

I love how you expressed your feelings. Life isn't fair. You did do everything right. We never know what life holds in store for us. I have a feeling that you'll come out stronger for this experience. One day at a time.

Marni said...

I can't say much more than what has already been said. This was a beautiful heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing.


Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Can I suggest a book for you to read? I just finished it last night. It is Joni by Joni Erickson Tada. Joni was a good girl who did eveything right and dove off a raft one day straight into a sandbar and broke her neck. the story is a very honest and real accont of her feelings about it and how God dealt with it. I think you would like it.