What’s Fair?

As I sit in my comfortable, beautiful home, where my bills are paid and I am in relatively good health, I am present to the seemingly unfairness of life. What has me contemplating this today is the fact that my 45-year-old cousin died this week. She drank herself to death, pure and simple.

Ironically, the last time I spoke with her was when I was in rehab. She chose a different path, and she died. It is hard for me to comprehend how this happens – and I would, quite frankly, rather just shrug my shoulders, say, “that’s life, that was her choice,” and go back into my day as if this has nothing to do with me.

On one level it doesn’t have anything to do with me; but this loss of yet another family member to the destructiveness of alcoholism has me wondering about the mystery of our choices.

Yes, it does feel like a mystery to me, even though I have made the choice, so far, to survive. On a more global level, this question of life being “fair” is what I am sitting with.

There is no obvious measure of why some people seem to have been blessed with what we call success and others just don’t seem to catch a break no matter how hard they try. How much of this is luck, hard work, wise choices, good parenting, genetics, and so on?

The question is, how does one resolve the fact that there is still, after it is all said and done and measured out and explained, some mystery at work.

How do you interact with the places you feel life hasn’t been fair? Withdrawal, fear, attack? Keep your head down and hope you’re not next? Stay so anxious that the question doesn’t even land on you? Take everything you can get just in case? Perform good deeds day and night, work hard, watch TV, eat, smoke, take drugs, shop? Shrug your shoulders, say that’s just life? Pull your boots up and get on with it?

None of these are real solutions. Life still is just not fair.

My belief is that the important, individual, work is to look and see in your own life where it is that you do not trust life.

How do you interact with this lack of trust?

This is not an easy question, and the answer can be very subtle, but wherever it is, this lack of trust is yours to work with.

The reward is, by doing this challenging work, life has an opportunity to come in a more authentic way. Trust is the most vital quality in any relationship, and your relationship to life is the one that matters most. Ask yourself where you do not trust life? Are you willing to live in the mystery with grace?

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