Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I grew up thinking the world was fair. That ‘no one could have it all’ because for everyone with an excess of wealth or beauty, there is still something in their lives that levels the playing field. Some kind of negative trade-off.

‘Fair’ is nice. It’s nice to be able to cancel out envy of the massive curly locks, beauty of face, and slim waist of a beauty queen by knowing that there is a definite trade-off involved. She probably has a sad homelife or the personality of a stick. It’s nice to think that the wealthy are discontent because of their inability to appreciate the small stuff. Comforting and nice to think that everyone (self included), despite blessings, has burdens that counterbalance those blessings and make us all into a multitude of equals.

So whether I encountered someone with the singing voice of an angel, or the ability to play a piano like Mozart, or the fine clothes and adornments of wealth, I could dismiss envy like it never existed, knowing in my heart that with these fine accomplishments came a trade-off. The more blessed a life, the bigger the counterweight, just to keep equality (i.e. fairness) in good order. My burden might be want, but theirs could be any number of things so much worst.

But then slowly, but surely, I became aware that some have it all, without the backlash of burdens necessary to maintain fairness. As I continued life’s journey, I began to uncover people of stunning physical beauty, with magnetic personalities, that were smart, friendly, rich, organized, successful, educated persons without zits, excess weight or other infirmities and with solid family relationships. That was pretty upsetting. And despite my conviction that ‘No one can have it all’, they had it all.

I was broken-hearted for a time. Where, oh where was the trade-off that they are obliged to give in order to have so many blessings? Where was the trade-off needed in a world that promises to be fair?

I must have a world that is fair. This is the root of my optimism and daily delight. I will build in my mind a discovery that will return the world to fairness one way or another. I wasn’t given this incredible imagination for nothing. And so I contemplated and twisted thoughts until eventually the discovery I needed surfaced. A discovery of understanding that returned all to fairness and completely melted away my disappointment. A discovery, that cured the chaffing of my envy.

And what I discovered was this. Despite their enviable success, cheerful smiles, personal magnetism and sweet dispositions, their beauty is stained and marred by a burden as well. There is an ugly and nasty thing tainting their perfection. And the infirmity or burden they must carry through life is far worse than a mountainous pus-filled zit on the end of a delicately carved nose. What they do, that is so Not-Nice, is make the rest of us feel completely ‘inadequate’.

I wouldn’t want to be like that for anything. Going around, making myself despicable by hurting others, by burdening them with feelings of inadequacy. Would you?


Anonymous Esther said...

I too, felt that somehow the world must be made "fair" in other words no one could really "have it all".

Take for example, my best friend Tam, she grew up as an outcast, the gangly child with crooked teeth, four-eyes and hideous homemade clothes, the girl without a date. She was a very late bloomer and grew up to be astonishingly beautiful, rich, wildly successful, happily married and with a large circle of friends and fantastic wardrobe.

While I never looked at her with pity, because she was always very intelligent and has a great sense of humor, she took the best of what God gave her (her incredible sense of humor and intelligence) and worked very very hard to become physically and financially fit. This was not a fluke.

Now, when I meet someone I envy I know, deep down, they must have worked very hard to get there.

Ah, if only I were that ambitious!

2:04 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

esther, sounds like the world turned out to be 'fair' for your friend Tam.

You need not envy anyone. You have your gifts too as evidenced by the thoughtful way you consider others.

10:56 AM  

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