No Fair! How many of us have heard this righteous proclamation from someone in our lives? Kids are notorious for pointing out the unfairness of being asked to pick up their toys, brush their teeth, and wait their turn in line. Someone got a bigger piece of cake, a new phone, a scholarship to an elite school, a lucky break. For kids there is an endless stream of “not fairs.”
Adults are also prone to the “not fairs”, just perhaps with a little less whine in their voices… We start to build a nest egg only to be saddled with an unexpected medical bill. The official at city hall denies our permit request because “it’s always been done this way” and not because our plans violate any building code. A company merger changes the scope of our job in a way that we didn’t expect. Just when we think we get ahead, someone else gets further ahead. It’s just not fair.
I am also screaming, “no fair” every time I tune into the news. The pictures coming out of Ukraine are haunting: destroyed buildings, a direct hit on a maternity hospital, baby strollers abandoned on train platforms. By some estimates we are witnessing the fastest moving migration in human history as at least half a million people fled Ukraine in less than a week.
It’s not fair that my kids had mild-COVID cases and someone else in our school ended up with their baby at Children’s Hospital. It’s not fair that the jobs people need aren’t in the cities where they can afford to live. I don’t have to look very hard to keep finding things that are just not fair.
It’s also “not fair” that I have an incredible family that helps and supports us. It’s not fair that I have the chance to do meaningful work, where others will only ever know backbreaking labor. It’s not fair that I drink water from a clean source each day and our Sisters in Africa collect rainwater and purify the filth in a “protected” spring. Each opportunity we have been given is “not fair” to the people who never stood a chance
Thankfully, God is not fair either. God continues to shower me with good things, even when I lose sight of the blessings I already have. God gives me chance after chance to respond with greater love to those around me. Over and over again God opens my eyes to see more clearly, and to feel more deeply with the world.
St. Julie Billiart, who knew much suffering in her own life, once wrote, “We must have crosses, but above all let us not choose them. Let us accept them from the divine hand of the good God. He knows so well the right proportion of our strength. Before all, let us accept them with confidence in His infinite goodness.”
The way of the cross is not fair. But neither is God’s grace.
A Suggestion for Reflection
- Have I experienced God’s generous love in any way this week?
- What injustice in the world has been screaming out to me?
- Do I sense God inviting me to help Him carry this cross in any way (however small)?