Who's the Fairest of Them All?

"Life is unfair." -John F Kennedy 

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I'd decided to put off surgery until summer so I could stage a convenient beach recuperation. My doctor eyes me with concern and a touch of fond exasperation, "You know," he says finally,  "if you don't have this surgery you are going to die." "Oh." I say in a small voice.

Each morning it took a split second to remember I had cancer. Struck by this fresh wall of "this can't be true" and "What the f^ck" and "noooo".  It wasn't that I feared death.  Lord knows I've had a satisfying life.  Really wrung a lot out of it.  So while I'm not keen to die (who is?) I can accept it.  But I was a mother. I wasn't finished. I prayed, "My kid is just 8. Don't take his mama away just yet. It just doesn't seem fair.

Fairness.  We expect it.  We demand it.  Outraged children wail, "That's not FAIR." Yet a quick glance around the world crushes any notion that Life is ever fair.  As Author William Goldman asks,  "Well who says life is fair? Where is that written?"  

Experts will tell you that fairness is about process, not outcomes.  That decisions are best made  in an even-handed way, applying the same criteria to everyone. Fairness is no guarantee we will be pleased with the results.  In the above video clip President Kennedy acknowledges life's inherent unfairness. Some soldiers get posted to Antarctica, he says, some to San Francisco. 

And sometimes young presidents get shot and children lose their mothers.   A few months after my surgery another neighborhood mom died suddenly, mid-sentence, of a brain aneurysm.  Angela left behind a  seven year old son.  She wasn't finished either.  I remember how kind she'd been when she learned I was ill.  Neither of us could have seen what was coming.

I'm  healthy now.  My son is grown, I got my wish, so, YAY God. Is it fair that I am alive while Angela's son grew up without her?  JFK''s too? Hell to the no.  But a key element of resilience is momentum, making the best of things, moving forward when 'life happens'.  I got to finish raising my child. I awoke this morning cancer free.  That may not be fair, but it sure makes me lucky.  May I repay my good luck by being of use to the world around me.  That's the fair thing to do.

Life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death, that's all.” 
 William Goldman, The Princess Bride

This new dot on the World Gratitude Map reflects my gratitude at being given a second chance raise my son.  Life is short.  #SeeTheGood. Make the most of it.


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