To My Children When Life Isn’t Fair


When Life Isn't Fair

Dear Children,

Part of me wishes I could keep you little, bottling up that innocence and protecting you from hurt and sadness forever. Because as your mother, I would gladly shelter you and take on all the fear and pain that life has the potential to bring.

Unfortunately, no one is immune to hardship, and as my own mother used to say, “Life isn’t always fair”. A bit harsh, maybe. But probably because it’s true.

Though you are (thankfully) too little to remember, our family was recently hit with one of these hardships. It was the kind of situation that was somewhat anticipated, yet once it actually happened, we felt completely blindsided. It has been all-consuming as we’ve been confronted with unexpected decisions, life-changing responsibility, sadness, unanswered questions and fear for the unknown. I know this all may seem a bit vague, but the point is that though we may have a long road ahead, this has also been a time of reflection on our blessings and making room for priorities that really matter.

You are our blessings. You are our priorities.

And though it might possibly be the most frustrating thing in all of the world when other well-meaning people try to comfort you in the midst of a difficult time by saying “everything happens for a reason”, it is indeed possible to believe that good can eventually come out of most situations.

It’s important to know that life is what you make of it. How we respond to our circumstances, fair or not, is what shapes our character. It may be incredibly difficult to remember in the middle of heart ache, but life can and will bring you joy, but only if you let it.

I once read that only 10% of a person’s happiness is based on external circumstance, and the rest is based on genetics and intentional activities – like praying, gratitude and self-improvement. In other words, we often can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our attitudes and choices.

So let me tell you something, no matter what you are going through, you will survive. I know it may feel like you can’t possibly imagine moving forward, but you will make it. Sometimes, we are given situations where our only manageable task is to focus on one day at a time, one hour at a time. And that’s ok. Just give it time. Even if that time seems unbearable.

I pray that you are able to see the good in all things, even if it means sifting through a lot of tears and questions and anger before getting there. I hope you are able to lean on your faith, while still understanding that it is healthy and normal to question it.

It is ok to cry, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Get those emotions out – anger, frustration, grief – they must come out. It’s far more painful to let those feelings stay buried deep within. Because believe me, they will eventually resurface.

It is not, however, ok to stay in a place of “why me”? Of course it’s part of the grieving process to question and wonder why. Those feelings are normal and healthy to an extent, but don’t let them linger around. They will only bring you more sadness.

Know that your pain is real. Some face hardship for the first time as an insecure teenager, others must find a way to survive from the moment they’re born. Some must learn to navigate new normals presented by illness or broken relationships, while others must endure unimaginable and acute tragedy such as the loss of a loved one. No pain is created equal. But please also know that your pain, regardless of the severity, is real.

And what they say is true. What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. With each adversity you face, you will come out stronger and better. Some of the most fascinating and inspiring people I know have been through something terribly painful. Because they get it, they get people and they are better because of it.

I guess what all of this boils down to is time. Sadly for some, even time can never completely rid the pain, but it will eventually make it more manageable. Because with time comes healing and with healing comes growth. You will gain character and understand true empathy. You will know how to relate to and love others. You will know how to live whole-heartedly. And you will eventually be able to use what you are going through for the good others.

I know because I’ve been there.

Love from the Depths of My Hurting Heart,


featured photo by Sally Cavanaugh Photography