Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Fair
Your choices in an unfair moment determine what you really experience
By Derick Turner
As I write this I’m listening to the angelic sounds of my teenage daughter practicing her song audition part for the school play this coming year.
She works so hard, and has such amazing talent, yet all I find myself thinking while listening to her is how unfair it is that I don’t get this experience in my life regularly any more.
I’m not enjoying the words, or her melodic exhibition. No, I should be, but what I’m thinking is how lucky her mom is to have that in her home most the time, while I get only the occasional performance on my few weekends with her.
I could be enjoying the talent my daughter has worked so hard to develop. I could be appreciating the effort she has put into memorizing the words, and practicing the proper articulation and intonation of the performance.
I should be doing all of these things, but instead I’m pitifully wasting the opportunity lost in thought about how unfair it is that her mother took those precious moments from me when she chose to end our marriage.
How foolish of me.
How often do we play that fool though?
Does Fair Really Matter
So there you have it, evidence that I’m still on this journey of becoming a better and more Upright Man myself.
What is fair? What makes anything fair?
Perhaps more important… does fair really even matter.
The quote above captures the essence of this as well as anything I’ve ever read.
How many years have we wasted wishing things were different, were more fair, when all along we could have been making what we had as amazing as possible.
What I should have been doing was listening to my daughter sing.
I should have been reveling in the talent hat she has, something that came from genetics, experiences, and interests shared with her by both her mother and myself.
I should have been paying attention to the way her voice trails off in an airy, ethereal way that is uniquely hers when she sings.
I should have been appreciating the way she would stop, correct a part she didn’t perform exactly as she preferred, and then tried it again, sometimes multiple times until she was satisfied with the results.
I should have been casting aside any emotions other than gratitude and fatherly pride.
But I wasn’t.
Instead, I was thinking about all the times I’ve missed these spontaneous concerts over the past few years.
I was wasting time thinking of all the other occasions that may occur over the coming months as she neared her audition, which I wouldn’t be there for.
I was literally spending time wishing what could have been, when exactly what I wanted was right in front of me.
In that moment I realized the error of my ways.
What did fair matter if I was going to squander the opportunities when they presented themselves to me.
I wasn’t even deserving of fair.
Fair is only as valuable as we make it
I have to be honest, I’m not good at accepting things I don’t like.
I try to be. I work on it, but I find I still struggle when those moments come.
Tonight I was facing a moment when I could accept and embrace, or I could resist.
The narrative would lead you to believe I chose to resist. At first I did, but I recognized my mistake and corrected it.
Finally, I cast aside the wasteful emotions of regret chose to listen.
My daughter is so talented. I would have hated to miss the mini concert we were secretly listening in on.
I did listen. I listened, and I enjoyed.
I ignored the thoughts that wanted to crash in on my mind, distracting me from the beauty before me.
Instead, I enveloped myself in the moment and appreciated my daughter.
What could I say on the topic of fair if I was choosing to waste the opportunity right in front of me?
So I made my own moment of fair.
I chose to make what was being given to me fairly mine.
I chose to keep that moment all for myself.
I chose to make my own fair.
My daughter’s mother was never going to have that moment. She didn’t even need to know about it.
When we are faced with the decision to dwell on injustices of the past over embracing the beauty of the present, we are choosing to be unfair to ourselves.
Fair is your choice
When it comes right down to it, you are the only one who can decide what is fair.
You can choose to ignore inequality.
You provide the measurement by which your judgments are maid.
If you decide not to let perceived differences in things equate to unfair, then you will never experience that emotion.
I’m not saying it’s an easy decision, at least to follow through with. As mentioned, I myself struggled with it tonight.
What would you rather have though, a life of regrets and wasted time because you just could not get over something, or memories you can instead cherish forever?
My daughter has not been coming to my house as much the past year. She’s a teenager with teenage life stuff going on. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it’s been.
If I choose to waste the few days she’s with me each month, when she is able to come, then the fault is only mine.
That’s the strange things about fairness. It cannot be inflicted upon someone else without their acceptance.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many injustices and evils in the world, but only we can determine how those things affect us.
The emotion of feeling thing are unfair is something only we can choose to take.
I’ll be working on my own decisions. I know I’d rather not waste opportunities and choose regret.
I hope you’ll find the power to do so for yourself.
For right now, I’m going to go listen to my daughter sing some more before she’s all grown up, and the moments have passed.
How about you?