If I had a nickel for every time my mother repeated that phrase to me growing up, I probably wouldn’t have to work now. It’s a simple truth we all know, but somehow still easily forget. Childhood temper tantrums, shouting “That’s not fair!” evolve into adult pleading - “Why me?”
Over the last three months, I’ve listened to two different people tell me two very different stories about the curveballs life has thrown at them.
In one case, I listened and did everything I could to help, knowing that it was likely not enough. I did my best to conceal my tears. I didn’t want them mistaken for pity. I didn’t pity them. I admired and respected them. Their strength, perseverance and courage were humbling.
Hearing the heartbreaking details of someone else’s struggles made me look at my own life in a very different light. What did I have to complain about? Very little. I am blessed beyond measure.
The second conversation caught me by surprise.
An outer shell of calm with a warm smile can hide the heartache within so effectively. Taking each day as it comes, because thinking too far into the future just seems too overwhelming to someone so weighed down with worry and obligation.
Life. Is. Not. Fair.
Earlier tonight, Brandon asked me to play a game for him to watch on the Nintendo. As per usual, I kept falling off the cliff or drowning in the water. Each time I told him, “Silly Mommy made Mario fall.” His response was to repeat a different three words to me.
“Don’t give up, Mommy. Don’t give up.”
It may seem trite to compare my struggle to win a game to other people’s struggle to keep from losing in life. I don’t mean to be trite. I’m proud that Brandon is learning something that will help him later in life.
No matter how big or small the struggle: Don’t give up.
It’s true that life isn’t fair. Some people are given large doses of challenging situations to deal with. Others seemingly have relatively few. But big or small, we all struggle. Of that, there is no question.
The real test is in how we deal with those struggles when they arrive.