“It’s not fair!”

How many times have I said those words this year, or in 2007 with my diagnosis?  How many times do we all think those words as we haul yet another load of wet laundry out of the washer and into the dryer, or sit resignedly in the car for yet another commute to work, while we imagine that our next-door neighbor has it so much easier?

It really isn’t fair, is it?  He gets to send his laundry out to be done by strangers.  She has a nanny AND a lawn service.  They get to go away on vacation after vacation, and she had cancer, sure, but no recurrence.  There’s always someone who has it better than we do.

And yet, were any of us promised a perfect life?

Listen to this story:  Once there was a man who needed some work done on his land.  He went out early in the morning and hired laborers to work that day, for a fixed wage.  When he came back to town later in the morning, he saw more men standing around and hired them as well, saying he would pay them a fair wage.  At noon, he hired another group of men, and again three hours later.

At five o’clock, he ran into more men standing idle in the town, and he asked them, “Why have you been standing idle here all day?” “Because no one has hired us,” they said, so he sent them to join the other workers.  That evening, when the work was done, his foreman paid the workers, starting with the last to be hired.  They each received the daily wage that was promised to the first.  Each group was paid, in order from last to first, and they each received the same wage.

Those who were first hired grumbled, saying, “The men who came last have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.”  The landowner replied, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the lastcomer as much as I pay you.  Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why should you be envious because I am generous?”

This story comes from the Bible, from Matthew, Chapter 20, and Jesus ends the story by saying, “Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.”  It is a difficult reading, and one that I have always had trouble with.  I was raised by parents who believed in a strict work ethic, and when I complained, my father intoned the maxim “to whom much is given, much is required.”  We were lucky, they taught me, to have a house to live in, good food to eat, new clothes to wear, toys and books – so many, and so much, and so I must go forth into the world and give back more than I was given, to help others as I could.  I have lived by that maxim, and I am teaching my children by that maxim, and they come back with the same rejoinder: “It’s not fair!”

And we struggle.  But this parable, taught in church last week and again in my new prayer group (and thank God for them, because I feel already blessed by the experience and the people therein), teaches us something very interesting, and after a week of challenges, I think I finally understand it.

Life is given to each of us.  We each get one shot at this sucker, and we are never really told that it will be fair.  We each get one life, one daily wage, and that’s it.  The guy next door gets one life to live.  The mom down the street gets one too.  No one ever promised us the same life, the same opportunities, the same blessings, or the same time to live.  No one ever promised that.  We are promised one opportunity, one life, and how we live it is between us and our Creator (I believe).  There is no comparing.

And so when one of my little children comes to me after dinner and say, “But Mama, he had a fruit snack earlier today too! That’s not fair!” I am able to stand my ground and say, that’s right, it’s not fair between you two.  You haven’t gotten exactly the same today.  But you asked me for a fruit snack, and I gave it to you – did I not keep my word?  Didn’t you get what you were promised?  As they reluctantly agree, I remind them that that’s what we learned on Sunday, and that it doesn’t do any good to compare what one gets to his brother, because it may not be fair.  But I will keep my word to each of them, and they will have what they need, and treats besides.

Now I need to take the passage to heart, and to stop raging on days when I don’t leave the bed (like yesterday, because of pain and great fatigue), “It’s not fair!”  Because it’s not.  That’s true.  I can’t imagine a scenario where anyone would be happy to get cancer at 35, and think oh, yeah, well, that’s fair.  That’s ridiculous!  But I am coming to terms with it, and it’s easier when I stop comparing my life to others.  I wasn’t promised the same life as my neighbors.  I was promised a life.

As I sat and talked to Jessica this morning, I reminisced a bit – I was so lucky, to be able to go to college, to study, to move here to work for NASA, to then get my dream job – the job I was ready to work my whole life for – of overseeing the competitions for new space missions, and for being the scientist at NASA Headquarters responsible for a mission to outer space.  I had that job for five years, and I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t imagine what would come next.  I wanted children.  I was so lucky that I was able to have them, my beautiful, wonderful, smart, and kind little boys.  When I got ill, I begged and pleaded and prayed that I could get the oldest one settled in kindergarten, on his way to a life of loving school, and the littlest, then barely more than a newborn, in a preschool that he loved, with support from friends and teachers and the families of his friends were anything to happen to me then.  I couldn’t imagine that I could live that long, but I prayed and I tried and I kept fighting.  These dreams have come true.  The boys are settled into a wonderful school, where they are loved, and supported, and safe, part of the school family, and they spend their days as they should, learning and playing, and when they come home, we are lucky enough to spend time together, with milk and cookies, then doing homework and practice on their letters (Widget wrote 14 thank-you notes over the last two days!) before they have a little tv and I rest again for that hour before Daddy comes home for dinner and we are all together again.

I have everything I ever wanted.

Am I sometimes envious of others, who may get forty-plus more years on this Earth than I?  Sure.  But I was never promised 80 years. I was promised a life.  And boy, have I had a pretty incredible life.

I’m not done yet, but I am finally coming to understanding about the parable and about what I’ve been given, and I am again grateful, for God has kept his promises to me and I have lived the best way I know how.  I have been truly blessed.

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111 Responses to “It’s not fair!”

  1. Kelly Kruger says:

    All I can say in response to another wonderful posting, is that God speaks through you, Susan. May he continue to bless you, your family, and all of us for many years to come.

  2. Brandie says:

    Beautifully written. And such a good reminder to me.
    (((hugs))) to you. I hope the pain gives you a break and soon.

  3. Spacemom says:

    :) Wonderful post. My statement is “fair is not equal”. Fair is treating others with respect and kindness.
    And yes, you are having a really incredible life!

  4. Karianna says:

    You are so incredible. These are things I ponder frequently, and I usually end up feeling both a panic and a relief at the one life that I’ve been given.

  5. I am so very proud of you.

    And it’s not fair. We are supposed to grow old and cranky together.

    It’s not fair.That doesn’t keep me from still feeling very very lucky that you are my best friend.

  6. cindy says:

    Awesome lesson for us all?

  7. Beautifully written. Your story reminds me of a lesson my son, 16 and autistic, has recently taught me. Wynn, this amazing boy of mine, has recently coined a new word: “What-if-I-am-disappointed…” He says it really fast and it comes in front of most of his sentences. He is disappointed that he can’t watch TV, or has to go to school, or can’t have pie for every meal etc…. etc….
    It’s kinda funny, but mostly annoying as it puts me on the defensive and makes every conversation feel like an argument.

    Then, the other morning, during my quiet time with God, I realized that most of my sentences were starting out the same as my son’s :
    “What if I am disappointed that my husband works on the other side of the country?”, and “What if I am disappointed that we haven’t had a family vacation in many years?” and “What if….blah, blah, blah”…. And it made me wonder, in my time with my Creator and Savior, was I honoring God, or arguing with God? Was respecting him and loving him with my conversation or simply whining and acting like a child with lots of maturing to do?

    I too will be striving to be more grateful in my responses to God’s will in my life.

    Thank you for sharing…
    Shannon

    (PS: Found your blog via Pinterest)

  8. So, so beautiful. I think I finally “got” this parable this Sunday, too. Our priest gave a really wonderful sermon on it and I think it was the first time that I didn’t come away from that one thinking, “well, I STILL don’t think that was fair.” One thing he said that really stuck with me, is, “thank goodness God isn’t FAIR, thank goodness he doesn’t treat us EXACTLY how we deserve to be treated.”

    I hope you have a wonderful day today, Susan! xoxo

  9. Susan:

    “I had a pretty incredible life.” Sounds like you still do, and because of all the people and things you love and because of your outlook.

  10. Valerie says:

    Thank you. Gratitude is a gift we give ourselves, thank you for reminding me to be grateful for this Life.

  11. Karen C says:

    As usual, Susan, beautifully said. I have been contemplating this topic this week as well – my nephew was born Tuesday night (full term) after failing two non-stress tests in utero. He seemed fine at first, but then struggled to breath and ended up in NICU on a ventilator and cooling blanket. He is named Timothy after his grandfather who passed away one year and a month before after a brief but brave battle with pancreatic and liver cancer. Timmy is living up to his namesake, battling hard to survive.

    I wonder why this happened to this family so soon after the loss of our beloved husband/father(in-law)/grandfather. And I wonder why I am so lucky to have healthy babies (though it takes some time to conceive) when others struggle. Ultimately, I always end up with the same realization… that we don’t get what we deserve and perhaps we really ought to be thankful for that – because when it boils down to it, we are blessed with our lives as you have so eloquently stated here. Thank you.

  12. Stella says:

    Brava, Susan. You inspire me!

    It is a hard lesson to learn. I struggled with it as a child. I don’t struggle so much anymore, except, perhaps, in the deepest portion of my soul on my darkest days.

    There is much peace when we cease to compare. But it is human nature to want more…

  13. MJ says:

    Thank you for this wonderful piece, and for sharing your life with us so generously.

    I can remember as a child saying “it’s not fair” and my mom saying “life isn’t fair”. Still, as an adult, I think and feel “it’s not fair”. Thank you for reminding me so eloquently that THIS life, the one I was given, has many good things in it, achievements (I heard echoes in your list) and blessings yet to come.

    You reminded me of this quote
    “Rabbi Zusya said that on the Day of Judgment, God would ask him not why he had not been Moses, but why he had not been Zusya.”

    I wish you and yours all the best possible moments and more precious days together.

  14. magpiemusing says:

    you take my breath away. love to you, susan.

  15. Joan says:

    Susan, I have struggled with the meaning of that parable as well. Thanks so much for your thoughts on it.

    IMO you demonstrate tremendous emotional intelligence and maturity. Would you have developed that to the same extent without the cancer? Who knows? But I am grateful for your sharing of it.

    Thank you for your postings, and best wishes to you and your precious family for your journey.

    — Joan from PA

  16. loran says:

    Thank you Susan. You touch so many with your posts. You are a gift to your kids, your husband, your friends, NASA and the breast cancer community. Sending you love, calm, peace and prayers. xo

  17. wksocmom says:

    What a beautiful and inspirational post, you are truly amazing. We are all sending you positive thoughs for you and your family and.

    My nephew has just left the ICU, they are tyring to get more weight on him so he can get a lung transplant. that 32 year old has crammed more into his one life with cystic fibrosis than we could ever have imagined. Of course I’m sure he complains about the pain, his multiple hospital stays, but he mostly stays positive and active when he can – he’s a fricken storm chaser, part-time. I find you both, who I see online much more than in person, just amazing.

  18. Thank you for sharing this. It’s the most inspiring thing I’ve read in a long time, and I plan on sharing it with everyone I know. Thinking of you and wishing you many good days!

  19. bettiepeg says:

    I’ve learned in life that fair and equal rarely meet. Great post.

  20. Thank you so much for this Susan. My husband and I were just talking about this parable this morning. Blessings, Penny

  21. Amanda says:

    Each time you share with us I feel so privileged to see the wisdom as it unfurls from each new day you meet. Thank you for sharing and, even more than that, thank you for accepting what some of us try to do to support you.

  22. Bon says:

    …i have struggled all my life with “it’s not fair.” i was raised with the idea that worth and reward were attached to work…which while a useful ethic has serious problems as a worldview, because one comes to expect some notion of just desserts. and that is simply not the way the world works.

    after Finn died, “it’s not fair” was one of the longest-raw wounds that i carried. i still have to work, regularly, to lay it down, to leave it behind on a whole bunch of fronts.

    but i have never seen something that was able to re-cast my worldview on the subject. you just did. seriously. in ways that i’m going to be grappling with for a long time, in ways that affect my notions of equity and difference and philosophy. whoa.

    thank you, Susan. thank you so much.

  23. sutari says:

    Susan, I didn’t reply to your previous post, because I couldn’t quite figure out how to say, “stop comparing yourself to others. Of course you can’t do X, Y, or Z. But look at what you did today, this week, this month, this year that you thought you might not get to do.”

    I cannot tell you how many times I have said to my children, ‘life isn’t fair”. They heard the same story in church this week. Next time I am tempted to remind them that life isn’t fair, I will bring up that parable again.

    The key is to find those parts of your life that you are happy with and remind yourself that some people don’t have this. They might have something else that you don’t have, but they don’t have this. It balances out in the end. Some people get 80 years and don’t accomplish a lot. Others get 40 or 50 and manage to live a much fuller life!

  24. Amelie says:

    Wow, Susan. That was beautiful. And thanks for the reminder. I have so many wonderful things in my life, and still I cry about the one think I seemingly cannot have, how it’s not fair. Thank you.

  25. This left me weeping. Once again, I’m floored by your outlook on life and your thoughtful, objective view of the world.

    Not only are you blessed with this life, but your family is so very blessed to have you.

    Much love to you, Susan.

  26. René says:

    This has been a very difficult week for me and I’ve been struggling with “fair”. Thank you for reminding me of that parable.

  27. Susan A says:

    Your outlook and faith are inspiring. Thank you for sharing your life with us. We are blessed to have you in this life and your words to read.

  28. Sometimes, Susan, you take my breath away – and with it, all my words.
    I feel so blessed to know you.
    Lots of love.

  29. Allison says:

    I comment very rarely, but wanted to thank you for this reminder to be grateful for this beautiful, blessed life. I too focus too much on what I DON’T have when in reality, I have so much. Thank you again.

  30. I love this so much. SO. SO MUCH. And I love you and I love Jess.

  31. Karen says:

    Beautifully said, Susan. I’ve never heard this story before but it’s true — it’s a very hard one to accept and embrace. Your honesty and grace through all of this is humbling.

  32. kate says:

    this is beautiful and you are so right – how much more grand is life when we enjoy what we have instead of comparing and being sad at what is ‘not fair’?? thank you for putting into words what i didn’t even realize i understood and could never begin to explain. You are amazing!!

  33. *m* says:

    So true. So timely. Thank you for this, Susan.

  34. Manic Mommy says:

    Thank you for writing this, Susan. I too hear “it’s not fair” way too often. I want to incorporate your maxim more – in my life and my parenting.

    In the words of our wonderful preschool, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

  35. Thank you for teaching, showing me, loving and living the Gospel …for me & and all your readers. Thank you for celebrating your life, a great life that I am so happy to see you living each day. This post is so beautiful.

  36. Rev Dr Mom says:

    That will preach, sister!

    And your presence here is a blessing to all of us.

    You are in my prayers every day.

  37. Xiaolinmama says:

    Tearing up here Susan! This was beautiful and something I needed to read today.

  38. Andrea says:

    Susan,

    So enjoyed reading this-so beautifully written and so true. Thankful for the gift of writing God has given you-your thoughts and insights bless so many! Love you cuz!

  39. jodifur says:

    Susan-

    I’m not Christian, and I don’t know that story, but the one thing you have taught me is Grace. Grace in all things. And I know it is a lesson I needed.

  40. Oh Susan, I’ve been thinking so much about you lately. Thank you for these kind words. While my own personal struggle is nothing in comparison to what you’re having to deal with right now, I’ve been having trouble with the huge transition that my family’s life is in now that I’ve gone back to work. The additional issues involved with our son’s school experiences (long story) have left me just wondering, “Why me??” It’s nice to be reminded in this way. Thank you.

  41. NOR says:

    Obviously at peace.

  42. Joie says:

    I’m an Episcopal priest (in your area) and that was a great sermon! Thank you, as I rarely get to hear (or read) other sermons.

  43. Sue Farrell says:

    Thank you for reminding us of this lesson. We all tend to forget sometimes. May God bless you for a long time to come.

  44. You are amazing. Thank you for this valuable reminder, especially as I mourn another friend whose untimely death I’ve decried as “unfair.”

  45. Colleen says:

    Oh Susan — you put many sermonizers to shame. This was a beautiful relating of a parable that I’ve always WANTED to love, and never quite have. I too have my “it’s not fair” moments and days and weeks. I look at others for whom this mothering thing seems to easy and natural or who have managed to retain their girlish figures or who always have the right word to say or the motivation to live out their dreams and I whine, “it’s not fair”. Thank you so much for these words that I need to hear again and again. The Spirit of the Lord is moving on the waters. I’m so glad you have found a prayer group — I honestly don’t know if I could make it through the week without mine.

  46. TwoBusy says:

    I don’t have the words for all the different things that are coursing through me now as a result of having read what you have written here, so instead of trying and failing I will simply say – and mean, honestly – thank you, for this.

  47. Susan,

    I think of you often, and I do think about how unfair it is for you to be suffering. I also think “it’s not fair” about the likelihood that you will probably not have a long life, and that others will not be able to enjoy decades more with you — starting of course with your children, your husband, your parents and in-laws, your extended family and your friends.

    I am just a reader of your blog, and yet I feel a sense of loss, a sense of the unfairness of not having you in this world for a longer time.

    You have given so much to me and to so many others. I’m not a scientist, but I find your Women in Planetary Science project fascinating and I plan to link to it from a website I’m working on. I think these women’s varied paths and strategies concerning education, career and family can serve as models for those in many different fields, not just planetary science and not just science careers.

    You’ve educated me about inflammatory breast cancer, and I will remember and support research and share information whenever I can.

    You write with such grace and love of life. Thank you.

  48. @meghuber says:

    Thank you again for showing me how blessed I am to have ‘met’ you through twitter. You are truly an inspiration to anyone who follows your blog. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

    meg huber

  49. Dorothy Doyle says:

    Oh Susan, what a powerful statement to make. Your posts always move me and your expressiveness through your writing is such a gift. Yet this most recent post is beyond what most people ever humanly comprehend – unless they have someone like you to share it with them. THANK YOU so much for sharing this. We all have things in our life that are not fair. Today you reminded me that we have a choice about what we focus on. You ARE blessed, and it is NOT fair that you are battling cancer – both are true. My prayer is that your blessings will far out weigh your challenges – and that by focusing on your blessings, that your mind, heart, body, and spirit will feel lighter. I agree with the comment above that God is working through you, Susan. Love and light to you and your dear family.

  50. Jennifer P says:

    I don’t know you but I love you. Many hugs for you and your sweet family Susan.

  51. KAL says:

    Your words inspire me.

  52. Thanks, Susan. I didn’t get that one, either, but I do now. We’re all only going around once, no matter how long that once is, and frankly, none of us knows, right? So we all need to be happy for the time we have while we’re here. Bless you, Susan. Hope to see you again soon. xo

  53. May says:

    Thanks Susan … your words touched me today.

    I am in awe and admire you for not letting your disease define you or stop you from living a true life. I’ve allowed myself to break under much less. God bless you sweet lady. You are an inspiration and I enjoy reading your posts.

  54. I, too, have been truly blessed to be able to read your blog and follow your journey. This post is a very special inspiration and lesson on acceptance. It’s just beautiful, Susan.

  55. Karen G says:

    Susan,
    A beautiful and insightful post. It isn’t fair that you, or anyone else, got cancer. Yet, you still see the blessings in your life, and you seem to be a blessing to your family, friends, and readers.
    The parable, which I hadn’t thought about in years, is particularly relevant b/c I’m between jobs now. I realize I’m lucky to not be homeless or in debt – there are so many heartbreaking stories in this economy. [Of course, I guess that is another way of comparing my situation to others’. Sigh.]
    Thank you for your writing. It is inspirational.

  56. merlotmom says:

    That is a difficult lesson to understand, adult and children alike, but you’ve shed some light on it. You write with beauty and grace. Thank you.

  57. Jennifer says:

    You are a lovely woman.

  58. Susan, I’m tearing up at the beauty of your words. And also the magic you worked with your boys. I’m going to have to try that.
    {hugs}

  59. Janine says:

    I have been trying to explain this to my kids as well. Life isn’t fair. We know that. But you get to decide how you are going to deal with that.

    My mom is a terrible worrier. I tell her time and time again that she can spend the next week, 2 weeks, 6 months worrying about something that MIGHT happen. But what if it never happens? Then she’s wasted all that time worrying when she could have been living.

    Life isn’t fair. But we get to decide how we live it.

    Thanks for your open, honest, and thoughtful reminder Susan.

  60. Susan, these are by far the most brave and graceful words I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing your life with us. (((hugs)))

  61. Mary Ellen says:

    You are one of God’s Glories. And, all things are possible with God to the person who believeth. I’m praying…

  62. Linda says:

    Thank you for being YOU and for your extraordinary wisdom! Hugs from a lurker…

  63. Susan: I have long had a link to your blog on my own, but today I posted and linked specifically to this post. It is very profound and has affected the way I view my life. You have been such a gift to me in my own life, even though we don’t know each other personally. Thank you so much.

  64. Minky says:

    You are such an eloquent writer. I need to take this story to heart in my own life.

  65. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It makes me think of Raymond Carver’s poem Late Fragment. Do you know it?

    And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.

    I hope you know how beloved you are, both in your real life circles but also in the bigger circle of those of us who mostly know you through your words.

  66. AnnetteK says:

    You are one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. Your words help me more than you will ever know. I’m praying for you Susan, and honestly, that’s not something I do easily lately, but it’s the only thing I can do in return.

  67. mayberry says:

    OK, you make a better priest than most of the ones I have encountered in my 40+ years of churchgoing! :)

  68. I am writing because I want to help. Somehow I was guided to your sight while web surfing–and I don’t believe in coincidences. I understand every person has to make their own choice in how to fight their battles–but I wanted to make sure you know there is another way. If you are interested, please google Rick Simpson or cannabis oil. Watch the videos, read the blogs. The government has known since 1974 that THC kills cannabis cells.
    Another thing to read about would be the anecdotal evidence behind Shaklee’s Nutriferon or Vivix.
    Finally, I commend you for your strength. no doubt it is your children who lend it to you :)
    I wish you all the best and only good!

  69. Incredible. Sending love. Always praying.

  70. Anna says:

    Wow Susan…you always amaze and inspire me and so many others. I want to thank you for teaching me such wonderful life lessons!! I always keep you in my prayers and pray that you will have some pain free days to be able to more fully enjoy your family.

    {{hugs}} Anna

  71. Lindsay says:

    This is so true and so well said. I love your honesty on this blog, Susan- you write on your up days and your down days and I feel like I have a real sense of you as a PERSON. In a world where everyone seems to be trying so hard to maintain a particular image, thank you for being authentically you. It really resonates with me– and obviously with so many others.

  72. Elaine says:

    I have trouble with that bible passage, too. And I think you’ve shown me more than I could ever express to you. My favorite thing about church? The peace blessing “peace be with you, Susan”. For all your days here, I wish you peace.

  73. MG says:

    This post is the perfect closing to a conversation my husband and I had this weekend, and is something I truly want to take to heart. Absolutely perfect. By the way, I love all of your writing.

  74. I struggle all the time with the unfairness of life.

    Your perspective just knocked home that maybe it’s time that I give that up.

    Thank you Susan. Thank you.

  75. Aunt Pat says:

    Thanks Susan,
    I will alway think of this blog when I feel that way.

    Lots of Love

  76. Natalie says:

    Thank you….for a much needed kick in my ass about fairness and perspective. You are right…one shot. That’s it. Time to get on with some living.

  77. ashley says:

    Beautiful and thoughtful. Thank you for giving me perspective on *my* life too.

  78. You are amazing. Thank you so much for writing. Your honesty and bravery and perspective is incredibly moving. Thank you.

  79. Jessica says:

    Ah, Susan. I am not remotely a religious person but this parable is inspirational, as are you. I have one dream in my life that has so far eluded me and I often ask the universe “why?” In my 40’s, I do a lot of looking back and often see what I have failed to accomplish for whatever the reason. Thank you for reminding me about all that I have done and all the good that I do have today.

    You are an incredibly brave woman and to add to all that you have please put “Inspired others”.

  80. Jill says:

    Susan, you are brilliant. Yes, you’re a NASA scientist, and I’m awestruck by that accomplishment alone. But the kind of brilliance I’m talking about is the kind that looks in the cupboard at a bag of flour and a can of peaches, and says, “I can totally work with this,” then goes on to make something wonderful and luscious and soul-warming for her family.

    Thank you for letting me rejoice in your discoveries!

    Much love,

    Jill

  81. I have never heard an explanation of that parable that worked for me – until now. Thank you Susan. There will be times down the road that this comes back to me and I will thank you now for them.

    I am thankful for the life I have.

    There will always be someone who works less and has more, and those who work more and have less. The parable has everyone earning a denarius – it wasn’t until your post that I realized that it wasn’t the “stuff” we have in life, or even the good fortune or bad that is represented by the denarius, but the one life itself.

    Thank you Susan. Thank you very much.

  82. NYFriend says:

    I have no words that adequately express my awe of the insight and grace of your post.

  83. ilinap says:

    “I have everything I ever wanted.” How many people can say that? You make me see the world in a whole new way, Susan. And I love you for that. Someone needs to discover a shiny stone in space and name it after you because you are a gem. And I am a cheeseball. ;-)

  84. Adam says:

    Beautiful. And think…the best is yet to come. Your best being a wife and mom, daughter and friend, your best work, your best writing, your best encouraging others with your courage. Press on.

  85. Lindsay says:

    Thank you Susan.

  86. I continue to be moved by your way with words and outlook on life. Jesus speaks through you, Susan – for that I am most sure. Thank you for once again bringing on these tears that spill from my cheeks as I swallow the “It’s not fair” from my tongue and appreciate how blessed I am for what I do have.

  87. What a beautiful post and important lesson. Thank you. You’re an inspiration.

  88. What a beautiful, inspiring post. I cannot wait to read it again.

  89. “Fair,” I always say to my kids, “Is a place you go to eat too much cotton candy and corn dogs and ride lots of spinning rides that make it all jostle in your tummy; it’s not a state of being. That’s grace.”

    They’ve heard it so many times as soon as “fair” comes out of their mouths I say, “Ferris wheel. Grace.” And they know. :)

    This, though, is the lovely, insightful why behind that philosophy. Gorgeous words from a gorgeous person.

  90. JasmineEMW says:

    Thank you for this. I am guilty of that “life’s not fair” and “what about my neighbor” mentality. It’s so easy to fall into that. Life’s not fair. It’s just life, and blessed be that. <3

  91. You’ve gotten me closer to understanding that passage then any of the priests I have ever heard speak on it. Thank you.

  92. Thank you. This is exactly what I needed to hear today, as I’m grumbling about life with an autoimmune disorder. Not only did I need to hear these words, but I needed to see your courage and strength in the face of this illness. I needed this reminder, and I hope the blessing you’ve given me is returned a thousandfold.

  93. molly says:

    Wow. I’m new here but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I landed here at all. My post today is VERY religious and I never write about God. Never.

    I’m so sorry for the stupid cancer. Yes, that part is not fair. But that you can look us and God in the face and say, thank you for the blessings you’ve been given. That is a testament to us all. Let us all be as brave as you to accept His word.

  94. Frank the drop in says:

    I wanted to give our sons the ability to let go of binding feelings from envious comparing. Long ago we came up with a Garfield couplet that we sometimes remember to recite when we catch ourselves pining for the “grass on the other side of the fence”. It goes: “Comparison is odious, and Odie is stupid.” Jesus and you said it so much better.

  95. It’s human nature to compare… and complain. Sometimes, it’s also the way you act afterwards. If you compare yourself to others who are more successful, and you use it as a motivation to get to where they are, then it’s also a positive thing. It’s when you compare and complain with a tinge of bitterness and doing nothing about it that it is destructive.

  96. nancyspoint says:

    I am amazed by your wisdom and very moved by your words. Thank you for writing this.

  97. Rachel says:

    Not religious, but this totally resonates with me. Thank you for writing this – for taking precious time to share with us your thoughts on this.

    Sometimes I get so bogged down in the negative (or comparing) that I forget that this life is good, even if some dreams won’t come true – there have been enough good moments to make up for that.

  98. Alexandra says:

    Anything I saw sounds so dumb.

    All I can think of, is all that I would have to do, to make sure my kids know I LOVE THEM.

    I will pray hard for you, and yours.

  99. Susan: Tonight is the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. I kind of thought you were Jewish before you were Catholic. I’m Jewish and my husband is Catholic. We both celebrate Rosh Hashanah. It is very different from the secular New Year. It involves asking for forgiveness and forgiving others and praying that we will be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year, that predicts all that will happen to us. Susan, I pray for you that you be inscribed in the Book of Life for the New Year. All my best, one of your devoted fans.

  100. […] It’s Not Fair – from Susan at Toddler Planet (thanks for pointing me to this one, Miz!) […]

  101. Lori in OR says:

    To quote Dug from the movie Up, “I have just met you, and I love you!”

    I arrived here by clicking on a link on The Blogess that simply said “My friend Susan.” What did I find? A post that matched what I have been struggling with, matched the post I made on my blog today. I decided I needed to concentrate on only two things:

    1.I am loved by my friends and family.
    2.I am blessed with everything that I need.

    You stated it so much more eloquently here. Thank you so much.

  102. Mel says:

    This is one of the most amazing blog posts I’ve ever read, Susan. I am so sad that I’m behind on blog reading and only got to it tonight. I am starring it, saving it, pulling it out every time I hear the words “it’s not fair.”

  103. Kate says:

    I can totally echo your sentiments here. I often get angry about my own cancer diagnosis at the age of 31 and even get envious of people with “nicer more treatable cancers.” I am sure you can relate to this emotion that people without cancer around me often don’t understand. But the way you verbalise your emotions and acceptance over the whole experience is very very helpful. I think we often focus on what we dont have or what has been taken from us and forget to take stock of what we have. You clearly have some wonderful rich things in your life. So poignantly said Susan. Thank you again.

  104. flutter says:

    you are a beautiful creature of light, Susan. You just are.

  105. Darryle says:

    Susan, I only wish I had the words to tell you how your words inspire me–and everyone who reads them. Thank you for letting us into your heart and mind.

  106. StacyG says:

    Just checking in. Hoping your pain is abating. Thinking of you and praying for you.

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