This morning I woke up early, grabbed my bag full of sheet music, and walked to the nearest tram stop.
Tallinn is dead on Sunday mornings. Some people were just crashing into bed after a night filled with too much alcohol, shallow kisses and bar songs.
Other families were just waking up to a warm morning at home filled with pancakes and cartoons.
Then there were the few of us, boarding a tram, for an early morning journey, appointment, or for me- music practice for today’s service at Focus Church.
As I walked up the old Soviet tram’s steps, I quickly found a single seat near a scratched window. As I sat down, a song played in my ear buds by Estonia’s top band, Ewert and the Two Dragons.
I experienced one of those shallow, self-pitying moments brought on by the horrible combination of exhaustion and emotion. I listened to the words and thought, “Why? Why me?”
It’s just not fair.
It’s amazing how those four words that we first started echoing when we were mere toddlers, fighting for our favorite toy, repeat themselves in varied ways throughout our lives.
Tears started to fall and I attempted to quickly wipe them away with my gloved hands. Perhaps I could convince my fellow passengers that the cold wind just had that effect on my delicate eyes?
I had that moment of fear – when you look around to see if anyone caught you in your moment of weakness. I looked around the tram to find two of my band’s members sitting within view.
Great! A leader’s dream come true.
I quickly straightened my back and pulled out my inner strength. And as I tightened my chin, and rolled my shoulders back into a fighting stance, I had a realization.
Life is never fair. Some of us find true love; some of us don’t. Some of us are made beautiful; others not. Some of us die young; others beg to die when old age keeps us trapped in decrepit bodies. Some of us were nurtured; some of us were abused.
There are things in life that even when we make our smartest decisions, push with our greatest effort, or dream about with the greatest fervor still don’t turn out. And…it’s just not fair.
Life was never about fairness. Life is about what we choose to do with the nasty challenges it hurls in our paths.
When we are unjustifiably hurt, do we choose bitterness- a cancer that will eat us from the inside out with every passing year – or do we forgive?
When our dreams of love never work out, do we judge ourselves as unworthy or do we love those we happen to be surrounded by with even more fervor and sacrifice?
When sickness consumes our bodies, do we lie in a bed of pity or do we fight to show those around us what true grace and strength is?
When sadness waits for us, daily, at the foot of our beds, do we welcome its embrace or do we laugh, a deep true belly laugh, at the many hidden daily joys that just wait to be noticed?
We are never measured by how fair of a life we live. We have absolutely no control over that. We are measured by the depth of character we allow to be destroyed or developed along the valleys and cliffs of life.
And what happens when we stare down the unfair pits of life with strength and character?
When we take our last breath, whether we’re too young or too old, we look back and see that in reality, all of our dreams did come true.
We finished the race. We fought the good fight. We kept the faith. And, when all we could do was stand, we stood.
And as we stand…and forgive…and laugh…and hope while living an unfair life in an unfair world, we finally can leave this life in peace. And such lives lived well will always inspire our children and others to do the same.
So, yes…life is unfair.
Deal with it. (Deep down, you know what to do.)