Life’s not fair.
That’s one valuable lesson I learned from Dad. Yup, I can hear him saying it every time one of us whined out a “But Daaaaad, that’s not faaaiiirrrrr”. His response was always similar; “Who said it was going to be fair?” or “Who said it was supposed to be fair?”. The statement was pretty much banned from out vernacular at an early age.
As I went to college and then into the workforce I would cringe everytime I’d hear a colleague or a subordinate say the three words. “What’s with these people”, I’d think. “Have they learned nothing in life? Didn’t their fathers teach them anything?”.
Tangent: I’ve always been a big believer that everyone goes to heaven. EVERYONE. Even Charles Manson? Yes. Even people who have screwed up their entire lives and have been miserable bastards to all? Yes, even them. That’s not fair. No, it’s not, but if life’s not fair why would heaven and all of eternity be fair? What the hell? Yeah, I’ve never much believed in hell. Especially in light of the fact that I believe everyone goes to heaven. I just don’t see what purpose it serves. Perhaps I don’t understand it all right now, but in time it will all make perfect sense. That’s how life rolls.
So it’s Sunday. Father’s Day. I met a friend for coffee this morning…he had an early flight out to see his Dad…and after he left I sat there and read. I pull out Rob Bell’s Love Wins and pick up where I left off; Chapter 7. The old familiar story about the prodigal son, complete with both sons’ and the father’s point of view.
You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
It’s a lesson for son’s. For those who squander and those who save. For those who took and those who didn’t take. And for those who forgot to receive.
Grace and generosity aren’t fair; that’s their very essence. The father sees the younger brother’s return as one more occasion to practice unfairness. The younger son doesn’t deserve a party–that’s the point of the party. That’s how things work in the father’s world. Profound unfairness.
Where did these kids get the idea it was supposed to be fair?
Grace. Mercy. They are gifts given to us from the Father. And Dad. And whether you’re the kid that stayed home and forgot to receive the gift or you’re the kid that strayed and is afraid to go home and get it handed to you on a silver platter, it’s there. Somewhere. Just keep looking.
By grace, my Dad was given to me. Seriously. He didn’t have to take us. Mercy can be a difficult lesson. Everything I have is yours. Sometimes it’s just to hard to accept it. So to my Dad…Happy Father’s Day. To Dad’s all over the world…Happy Father’s Day.
And to the fathers who haven’t stepped up to offer the lesson…have mercy on them. Maybe they just need to receive the gift today.