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Life Isn’t Fair (And Never Will Be)

January 10, 2013

My dear, sweet son,

You’re angry with me tonight. I’ve denied you, and you’re angry.

At this very moment you are in your room, raging about the unfairness of it all. The walls are quaking with your cries, and I see that you are more than defiant, that your frustration is genuine.

I asked you to put on a shirt before we left the house. We’re going out, and while your puppy-belly is adorable, it’s only 50 degrees outside. I realize that wearing your blankie about your shoulders would provide you with the warmth you’ll need, but, well, you’re not Linus, and you’re not two, so, I said no to blankies in public.

(An exception to that rule is hospital visits. I drove like a maniac to get your brother’s yellow blankie the night he broke his arm in first grade. By golly, I could do nothing for his pain and anguish, but I could get that blankie. But, I digress.)

You’ve emphatically stated that life is unfair.

My darling, you are so right!

There is nothing in this world that is truly fair. It’s not fair that some mommies get to stay home every day with their babies, but I didn’t. It’s not fair that some people have housekeepers to vacuum their floors and scrub their toilets, but we do it all ourselves. (Note I said we, lest someday you forget that you, too, scrubbed toilets even at the ripe old age of five. Your future wife will thank me.)

It’s not fair that we have a fridge full of food when families just a few streets over, who have worked hard and lived honestly, have barely anything to eat. It’s not fair that little boys and girls of black eyes, brown eyes, green – as adorable and bright as yours – are hungry tonight. It’s not fair that criminals go free, the righteous suffer, and all over the world, the strong oppress the weak.

This world is anything but fair.

What is also unfair is the daily measure of grace we are so generously afforded by a loving God, who sees none of our constant failures, having been shielded from them permanently by a sacrifice that wasn’t fair, wasn’t just. It’s not fair that we get that grace, so undeserved.

There are some lessons, sweet son, that you must learn and this is one of the most important: life is not fair. Sometimes you will be on the right side of fair, and other times the wrong. Sometimes you will have more while others have less. Sometimes you will have pain, when others do not.

This is not a lesson I want you to learn after you’ve left the shelter of my home and heart, out in the big world all alone. The world will hurt you, and if you expect it to be fair, you will suffer more. Don’t expect fairness, do not seek it. Instead, seek grace. Be grateful when you are on the upside, be patient when you are on the down, be compassionate and generous when you see others who deserve more, but have less.

Above all, wear that grace you’ve been given on the outside, open for all the world to see. Do not keep it hidden. Let it seep from you in great measures and coat all those you encounter. Grace is for the giving – the immeasurable depth of that grace will never run empty, you will always have plenty to share.


11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2013 6:28 pm

    Oh, this reminds me SO of my students!!! They love nothing more (at the beginning of the year) to come up to me insisting, “That’s not fair!”

    I look them in the eye and say, “I believe the phrase you’re seeking is, ‘I’m really disappointed right now!’ Unfair would be if I’d treated you differently from every other student who turned in their work late. Disappointed is how you’re feeling about the grade you earned because you turned your work in late.”

    By the end of the second week, the class takes over, and as soon as someone starts in with, “That’s not fair!” there’s a chorus of, “I believe the phrase you’re seeking is…”

    (Of course, it’s not nearly as amusing when they have my own medicine poured, ready, and waiting for me when I get my shorts in a bunch about a REAL injustice…!)

  2. January 11, 2013 9:57 am

    Pinning this post! Life is not fair! Nowhere in God’s word do I find that its supposed to be. What I do find is ways that I can cope with the things in life that are not fair. Most importantly focusing on HIM!!

    • January 11, 2013 10:39 am

      Thanks for sharing, Piper! You are SO right – God never promised this would be easy. But He gives us everything we need to get through it!

  3. Sharon Ink permalink
    January 11, 2013 2:05 pm

    Wow! So good Adelle. Your sons are so blessed to have you and Gabe in their lives AND to have your words of wisdom in a blog (or book someday) to keep and treasure for all of their lives, even as they raise their own children…in an UNFAIR world!

  4. January 14, 2013 12:32 pm

    Oh, how I love this post– I’ll just echo it with a huge AMEN! Life’s definitely not fair- but I’m so glad God is. Nice to meet you here- stopping in from mom initiative today. Blessings from a not-so-fair mama in Iowa 🙂

  5. Donna permalink
    January 15, 2013 7:39 am

    Hi; I’m new to your blog, having discovered you through a pin on Pinterest! Love the entries I’ve read so far! And this one must have been sent straight to me this day by God Himself, as I am currently struggling greatly with the entire entitlement vs. contentment issue. I have only one boy, my only child, and he has Aspergers so that abstract concepts are much harder for him to grasp (i.e “life isn’t fair”) I plan to use your blog entry as a springboard for our family’s devotional this week. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • January 15, 2013 7:53 am

      OH, thank you so much for stopping by! I’m glad you are finding the content useful! Big hugs! This parenting thing is HARD!

  6. Christi McGuire permalink
    January 31, 2013 6:34 pm


  7. Robert T. Stone permalink
    September 25, 2013 11:04 am

    🙂 My girl!


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