I am told by my parents that when I was a child, my catch-cry to any given situation was “It’s not fair!” Maybe it’s something to do with being the youngest and feeling hard-done-by because my youngest often says the same thing.
And I’m still saying it, but hopefully without the whine and over more important issues than what face a normal eight year old
Life is not fair. Categorically true. What goes around doesn’t always come around. Good people have bad things happen; bad people have good things happen. Wealthy people win the lotto; those battling to pay the rent lose all they have in a natural disaster.
Life is definitely not fair.
It’s not fair that we in the western world enjoy the life we do, while so many on our planet struggle to feed their children and find shelter each night.
It’s not fair that people right here in our backyard live below the poverty line. Or that people who most need their jobs, lose them. Or that those who have already suffered great loss, lose another family member.
Fairness and life seem to have nothing to do with each other at all.
So, if life isn’t fair and is unlikely to ever be so, what can we do to alleviate the pain of others going through unfair things?
Listen. The power of a listening heart cannot be underestimated. Sometimes, we can help practically – make a meal, run some errands, babysit children, but in amongst those practical things, we need to take time to simply listen to the pain of another.
And that is not an easy thing to do, which, I suspect, is why we would rather be ‘doing’ for them, than listening to them. It is hard to listen to the anguish, knowing we can do nothing to change it, that life is simply unfair. It’s hard to hear the tears of a life ripped apart. It’s hard to not rush in with advice and a list of things the person should do.
But it is what is required of us, if we truly want to be there for our friends and family. And we all have the capacity to be listeners. It takes some practice to be silent, to simply sit and listen but we all have it in us.
Life is not fair and there will be many times we will need to confront that, either for ourselves or someone we love. Listening and just being present in the face of unfairness is no small thing and, often, the greatest gift we can give someone or be given ourselves.