So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality.” Acts 10:34
Mason has a slew of stuffed animals. He wanted to put them all out on his bed each day after making it. However, he didn’t want the work of lining them all up each morning, only to have to clear them all off each night. When I suggested putting out one or two of his favorites and leaving it at that, he said he was worried about fairness. He loves each and every stuffed animal the same. He wanted to be sure they all had a chance to be evenly displayed on his bed.
Mason got me thinking about fairness. I have always tried to keep things as even as I can with my three kids. I’ve never wanted one of them to feel less loved or cared for than the others. I do my best to be sure they all have the same amount of gifts for birthdays and Christmas, an equal amount of extra curricular activities and playdates, etc.
I have been criticized for doing so. I’ve been told I’m not preparing them for the real world where life is unfair just about all the time. The way I’ve always seen it is they have the rest of their lives to experience unfairness. I want to create a safe haven from the discrepancies of life, someplace where, no matter what, they are loved, and liked, and cared for as much as their siblings.
But I do get what my critics are saying. I bump up against unfairness myself all the time, and I suffer deep disappointment and hurt because I haven’t hardened my exterior enough for it to roll right off. I invest myself in something and it bears no fruit; I listen to others but then don’t always feel listened to; I do for others but then can feel abandoned when I am in need.
As I lick my wounds, I question my approach. Rather than leaving myself vulnerable, hoping for fairness, should I protect myself more and toughen up? Should I stop trying to be fair to others and just take care of my own needs?
I actually took all this to God and laid it at His feet. What He gave me back was as loving and beautiful as Mason with his stuffed animals.
Like I want to be for my kids, God wants to be my safe haven. He wants to be where I go when the world is unfair, and life doesn’t treat me the way I want it to. He shows no partiality. He is always fair. He loves each and every one of us the same. He is always ready and waiting to enfold us in His loving embrace, to listen to our disappointments, and to heal our hurts.
In fact, I believe life is supposed to be unfair so we seek Him out. It was St. Augustine who said that we were created restless until we rest in God. This issue is similar. Life is unfair so we turn to God for fairness.
So rather than becoming cynical and tough, I’ve decided to remain soft and vulnerable. I think it’s the only way to stay open to experiencing the joys of life. I may be exposing myself to more hurt and disappointment, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. As long as I have God, I’ll always have someplace to go where unconditional love and fairness reign supreme.
Questions For Reflection:
* What is my approach regarding fairness with my children?
* Why have I chosen this approach? Is it working for my family? Why or why not?
* What is my approach regarding fairness in my own life?
* Why have I chosen this approach? Is it working for me? Why or why not?
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