There are daily reminders about how unfair life can be. The question of why I should have a comfortable place to sleep at night while someone else suffers in the street, or in a refugee camp, or in the same home as an abusive parent or spouse, causes me no shortage of consideration of fate, existence, circumstances, luck, and God.
Our girls, like almost all kids, will sometimes say that something isn’t fair. Mallory got the last chicken thigh: NOT FAIR. Hannah gets a sleepover and I don’t: NOT FAIR. I don’t particularly like the common response of, “Life’s not fair,” at least not on its own. We will talk about the fact that there are children within walking distance of our home who do not have even basic essentials to be happy and successful. We will talk about the plight of the child in Africa who we support with a donation every month. We don’t want to overdo it, but it’s important for them to understand that life is not, in fact, fair—but in ways that are far more significant than whatever is fueling the current lamentations in our kitchen.
This week brings a very personal and very cruel reminder of how unbalanced life’s contribution-to-reward ratio can be. A very dear woman named Carole is fighting for her life right now, having lost ground in her battle with cancer. Carole is one of the most unflappable, steady, direct, and thoughtful people I’ve ever known. She should be enjoying the good life right now, soaking in the rewards of raising three terrific and successful kids, and receiving karmic payback for putting up with the constant bullshit of any number of teenagers, including me, way back when. That house was one that you probably know from your own youth: where you could hang out anytime and always feel welcome, even though you sort of knew then and definitely realize now, that you were often driving the parents crazy.
So many of us are better people because of knowing Carole. And this is her reward? It is inexplicable and infuriating and demoralizing, which takes me to the place where my girls go sometimes: I just want to be mad.
If you pray, please pray for Carole and her family. Thank you.
We knocked out 10 more of these this fall, but this particular event was really special, as it was the first one in Oregon in the six years of the program.
Think they might have scheduled Mal’s game for a bit too early in the morning? Would have no idea where she is, other than just hearing her yell to a teammate, “I hate NPR!”