When I was a kid, one of our Saturday chores was pulling weeds. I hated it! While it's still not my favorite pastime, I know it needs to be done or soon my house will simply be known as ' the one behind the dandelions'. I remember back in those childhood days quite often saying, "that's not fair, why should I have to pull weeds?" To which my dad would reply, "nobody said life was fair." I'm not sure if it was his favorite saying or just a kneejerk response. I suppose with seven kids all clamoring and questioning the inequities of life, you've got to come up with a mantra and stick with it. But I digress in a forward manner (hmm, maybe that's the technical way to say "Back To The Future!? :) As I was pulling weeds I thought back on my week and some of the substance of it that struck me in one way or another, and my dad's words rang true in my ears once again.
A friend of mine pulled me into her office, with an expression that can only be described as -- beaming! "Check this out!", she said, pointing to her computer monitor in delight. She'd told me a couple of weeks ago that she and her husband were having a baby, so I sort of knew what to expect. It was an ultrasound picture of a baby. "Now check this out!" , she said. To me it looked like the very same picture, but remember, I'm a guy. "Twins!!" , she shouted. She was so excited and I was very happy for them, having known them since they moved here as newlyweds not long ago...fast forward to a few hours later. A different friend of mine was informed that she was never going to be able to have children. Never. Zero percent chance, according to her doctor. She's in her early 30's, not married, and a complete natural with kids by all accounts.
There are no words of condolence that can fill a hole so deep in despair. Words are empty and they echo in the cavern of hollow feelings. My God, how can this be fair? How can a woman who is more fit than others, seemingly, be made to suffer like this? Unfair!
Last night after my softball game, my nephew invited me to celebrate his 19th birthday with him and his family at home with cake and ice cream. This is my nephew that has been semi-attached at the hip to my daughter since birth. They're 3 weeks apart. Of course, I went. During the course of the evening, my daughter made her way over to her step-dad. The man my ex-wife married a year ago. She sidled up next to him, put her arm around him and remained there for the next ten minutes while I ate cake and ice cream. He's a good man. He loves her mom and her brothers. She should love him. That's how she is--she loves people and she's easy to love. But still. I couldn't help but feel the sting. Was he there when she was born? Did he rock her to sleep? Did he ever cry with her? Does he know the names of her dolls? Does he pace the floors at night when she's out later than normal? What right does he have to that arm around his shoulder? What right?! That's so unfair!
Open your dictionary to the word 'average'. There you'll see a picture of me. Blue eyes, a little too much gray at the temples, too much nose, a few wrinkles. Nothing fancy. Oh sure, there are a few things I can do that might be slightly above average (just don't ask me what they are), but those are certainly offset by the things that I do that are below average. Which lands me where I took off...average. I don't mind being average most of the time. It's a pretty cool gig, actually. You don't get your picture in the paper. Cops don't pull you over and ask you for your autograph. You wait in line at Applebee's unaccosted. Nobody even cares that you're the King of Average. Life is grand in averageland...except for this: The King of The Universe died instead of me. He didn't do anything wrong. It was me. He pretended to be average...no, he agreed to be criminal, so I wouldn't have to die. He didn't fight, or kick, or squirm. He did that for me. There has never been a more atrocious injustice, a more unfair act committed than this, ever. And I don't balk. I don't shake my head in disbelief. I act as if it was owed me. If I can live with this injustice, then I certainly can live with all the others. After all..."nobody said life was fair."