I have a good friend who is a school principal in Utah. He does a great job in an extremely difficult school situation. Many of the students come from environments that are very challenging. Some of them have actually had to work all night and then go to school the next day simply to help their family have decent living conditions. Regardless of their circumstances and situations, my friend always tries to be a blessing and encouragement to each one of his students. I have seen him in action and I know that this is the case.
He once told me that one of the most common statements that he has heard from students is, “Life isn’t fair!” Who hasn’t said that at one time or another? All of us have been in a set of circumstances that we believe found us by mistake. We have also all made decisions that left us with consequences we also thought were unfair. Remember that car that you loved so much in the beginning, but ended up hating before it was over? Remember the time you bought that boat? (They say the second happiest day in a man’s life is the day he buys his boat. I guess you know what the happiest day is – the day he sells it!) What about that business deal or that relationship that you got into thinking that it would turn out so great? In the end, you realized that things were not quite as fair as they seemed at the beginning. None of us are going to get through this life unscathed. All of us are going to have challenges, and sometimes they seem to multiply faster than rabbits!
My school principal friend said he learned a simple little saying to tell his students when they say that life is not fair. He said he smiles at them and says, “Well, of course life isn’t fair. Fair is a carnival!” He then reminds them that a carnival is full of different shows and a lot of surprises. That usually brings a smile to their face and lets them know that he is trying to be a little light-hearted and have fun with them.
As I have reflected on that, I have come to realize that it really is true. It is a fact that life is not fair for any of us. Although there are some people I know who are far better off than they deserve to be, there are others that I know who desperately need help. Some have fallen into a set of bad circumstances, really through no fault of their own.
I have traveled often to Mexico. I have seen firsthand how their form of government keeps their people from being prosperous. Our economy here in the U.S. is always moving up and down and that also has a domino effect throughout the rest of the world. I have seen first-hand people who are very successful and others who are financially challenged both here and abroad. What is fair about that?
As I travel, I have also seen how airports and air travel has been made difficult because some terrorists from another country decided to attack our country. That one act, which took place almost twenty years ago, has created such a hassle in the travel industry that it just defies all logical imagination. But, whenever I am traveling and feel frustrated because I have to be inconvenienced as a result of the bad decision of other people, I simply remember, “Life is not fair. Fair is a carnival.” That always brings a smile to my face, too.
I think sometimes the best thing we can do is to face the reality that life will never be completely fair…but it can become a carnival. If we can turn our circumstances into something that is a little bit better; if we can squeeze our lemons into lemonade; if we can learn to look for the good, the pure and the positive in every situation; if we can be light-hearted rather than being frustrated or depressed over our current state of affairs; then we will always be better off. I promise you that being positive, happy and upbeat will always be better than being negative, angry and bitter.
I want to encourage you to repeat that little saying to yourself, and others as well, when tempted to think that life is unfair. So far, it has made my heart and step a little lighter as I walk through life. I am hoping that you will have the same experience.
Tip: Life isn’t fair – fair is a carnival!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm