Uncle Douche Bag
What if life really was fair? What if we were to get exactly what we deserve?
My first instinct, if life was fair, would be to think that I’d have more money, better health, nicer car….that sort of thing. It’s probably a safe assumption that I’m like most people, and if life really was fair…things for me, would, in a word, be….”better.”
I’m always hearing people talk about how much better the “good-old-days” were. For the purposes of this essay I will assume that “more fair” is included within the concept of “better.” Seeing as how the “good-old-days” always occur in the past, it seems like some sort of history book would be a good place to find out if they (the good-old-days) were, indeed, more fair. Perhaps the farther back in time I go, the more fair things will be? Do you think?
A “good friend” told me that the oldest and most reliable book she knew of was the Bible. She told me a good place to start my research would be at Romans 3:23. Let’s see what it has to say.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
I guess that means by nature I am a “sinner.” Hmm…that doesn’t sound good. So let’s see what “fair” treatment sinners deserve. Woah!!! Romans 6:23 tells me that: “The wages of sin is death.”
Again. Not good. Come to think of it, this “good friend” of mine once told me to “drop dead” because I “deserve death.” Some friend, huh? At least now I know where she gets it. Her thought process now appears to have been based in sound Biblical doctrine. But wait a minute, I’m a “good” person though! This doesn’t seem fair, right?
There are lots of examples of how “unfair” life can be. Some people eat like pigs and remain skinny; others simply look at a “ho-ho” and gain 3 lbs. Some people are born into good families; others arrive in a world where they are unwanted. Some people can juggle, some can’t. Some people are naturally smart. Others? Well, not so much.
There is “unfairness” in every aspect of life. Work, play and everywhere in between. And to complicate matters, everyone is playing by a different set of rules. You can adjust or not….I suppose, depending on what YOU consider “fair”. Wait a minute…is THAT even fair? Aggggh! This is a moving target. Who’s officiating this mess?
Ok, let’s think about our own situations for a moment. Have you ever thought about, let’s say, your job…and how much you get paid? I bet you’ve thought, more than once or twice, that your salary isn’t “fair.” I know I have. Of course, I’m in prison and starting pay here is 12 cents an hour. But that’s another story. There are certain jobs in which people consume themselves for the benefit of others. Think teachers, pastors, P.B.W.’s (professional butt wiper, sometimes called a “nurse’s assistant”). These sorts of jobs. And their pay sucks. Then there are the jobs where people barely lift a finger and make a small fortune. This isn’t fair! This is a problem, right? But this seems like a problem that society should be able to solve, right? Hmmmmmm…
What if society already HAS solved this problem? What if, as I asked earlier, we DO get exactly what we deserve? What if life really is fair? That can’t be, can it?
Alright, here’s something “unfair” that I know we can’t do anything about. Why do the “good” die young? It’s a safe bet that you knew someone who was “good” that was taken much too early. Young “innocent” people die every day as a result of tragedy, disease and circumstance. On the flip side, you also probably know some undeserving person who has lived a life that seemed just a tad too long. He’s probably a bit rude, perhaps on the arrogant side, he’s “unfairly” advantaged, he might have a penchant for making other people’s lives a living hell. He falls “bass ackwards” into money, nothing ever seems to go wrong for him. He’s been a thorn in people’s sides since the Coolidge Administration. Maybe you’ve even given this person a nickname. I know I have. I call him “Uncle Douche Bag.” Just the fact that he even exists…seems….”unfair.”
So, on and on it goes. I complain that life isn’t “fair.” I complain to anyone who will listen. Funny thing though, I don’t t hink that anyone wants to hear my complaining. It seems to me that someone should be forced to listen, but then, I guess, to them, THAT would be “unfair.” Ugh! Why is life so unfair?!?! Maybe it’s an unanswerable question. Maybe I’m asking the wrong question altogether??
Perhaps I should operate as though life IS fair. And ask the question: “so what?”
As I allow myself to believe that “life-isn’t-fair” I have given myself the illusion of some control. I have become the judge of what is and isn’t “fair.” I am now the umpire in my own game. By the way, I always do quite well in games that I double as “player” and “judge.” Alas, real life doesn’t work like that, does it? If I’m honest with myself I will realize that, simply stated, I have no control, at least concerning what is considered “fair” and “unfair”. In the game of life, I am NOT the umpire.
Perhaps the best advice I could take would be that of “earworm specialist” Bobby McFerrin. As I recall, he told us “don’t worry” and “be happy”. If you were around in the ‘80’s and that song is now echoing in your head you have permission to shoot me. It’s only fair.
Of course, this is going to mean a massive perspective change on my part. If I now choose to “don’t worry” and “be happy” I should probably start to operate under the premise that it is not me who determines what is fair or not. I am now subject to being measured by a yardstick (please note, this is a “yardstick” and NOT a “meterstick” — I hate metric) that belongs to another.
I suppose I need to try to look at my life through God’s eyes. If I were able to TRULY do this, it’s safe to assume that I’d see an unimaginable amount of “behind-the-scenes” footage concerning my life. Stuff that I’m not privy to “on this side.” Come to think of it, I don’t think I’d want to see much of that “film.” If I were to try to come to grips with all of the undeserved favor that I suspect God has sent my way instead of giving me what I do, in fact, really deserve, well, I probably wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I would fold under the weight of my own shame.
Instead of trying to avoid all of this perceived unfairness I’m going to have to try to embrace it, “steer into the skid” so to speak, instead of fighting it. Especially since I can’t do anything about it anyway. I am going to try to enjoy what I DO have instead of complaining about what I don’t have. As I recall, nobody listens to complaints anyway.
Wow! This is going to be tough.
Part of my perspective change will have to be acceptance. I’m “poor” for a reason, I’m “lonely” for a reason, I’m “in prison” for a reason. Whatever it happens to be I need to accept “it”. I CAN ask why. Sometimes I already know the answer. Other times God may reveal the answer to me; sometimes quickly, sometimes…slowly….and sometimes….never. I don’t know why. If I could look through God’s eyes I’d know. But I can’t…..so I won’t.
To gain some insight on my perspective change I, AGAIN, consulted my “good friend.” She told me, AGAIN, that the answer lies in the Bible. Indeed, she is right. God IS calling the shots. He IS being fair. Jesus tells us (in John 5:30) “I can do nothing of myself. As I hear I judge. My judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.”
I am indeed human though. I still didn’t know what to do with all of this stuff that seemed “unfair.” The Bible refers to “unfairness” as “trials” and as it turns out, the Bible is very clear as to what we are to do.
First Peter 4:12–13 tells us we are NOT to complain about trials that come our way because the “trial” (unfairness) has come our way so that we may rejoice and be glad when God’s glory is revealed.
What am I supposed to do with that?
Well, James 1:2 tells me I am to count all of my trials as…..”joy”.
Finding “joy” in “unfairness”….how’s that for perspective change?
The old adage goes: “Life isn’t fair”….now, I’m not so sure that’s true. So I ask myself this: Am I in a situation right now that I think is unfair? If I am, I really need to think about the number of people “out there” that look at me….and consider their lives “unfair”…..IN COMPARISON TO MINE. There are lots, and I mean LOTS, of people that could easily say of me, “Look how much “better” his life is than mine.”
Woah, I’m glad they are not holding “the yardstick.” Otherwise they’d probably take me down a peg. Or two. And then the cold hard reality hits me. To more than a few people in this world……I am “Uncle Douche Bag.” Compared to lots of people I am an undeserving person who has led a life that has been a tad too long. I am rude, I’m a bit on the arrogant side, I am advantaged in many ways, I have made other people’s lives a living hell. I have money I don’t deserve. And things usually “go right” for me. For what it’s worth, I have NOT been around since the days of Calvin Coolidge.
From a human standpoint this simply sounds “unfair”, but when it comes to the “yardstick” of fairness, I have learned that I don’t hold it. However, after taking a closer look at my own life, I’m glad to know that no other human holds it either.
Whether or not we perceive life as “fair” or not is kind of a moot point, I guess. We will all encounter various kinds of trials in life…to be fair….I’m no different.
Of course MY trials will ALWAYS be worse than my Uncle Douche Bag’s trials. Whatever fairness or unfairness I am dealing with at a given moment is just life. The Bible tells me in James (1:2) to count it all as joy. (sigh)
I’ll concede and reluctantly agree. I guess that sounds fair.