This writing below was originally written for Year 10 speeches and was one of the final winners.
In order to understand the concept; “life is not fair”, we must first understand what life is. The dictionary says that life is the period of time between the birth and death of a living thing. You are in the phase called life. You are living and breathing and feeling because of a condition that sets you apart from rocks. Logically, life is only time. It is merely a state of being. From your first breath to your last. That is it. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. That is life.
The dictionary definition of life doesn’t really satisfy me. It doesn’t match up.
See, the meaning of life is something much more profound. Life is so much more than time. Life is emotions and relationships and fun and work and is meant to be lived with others. Life is meant to be lived with purpose.
Is it fair? No! Nobody ever said it was. It is a constant imbalance of good and bad, of right and wrong. There will always be bad people and bad things will happen. This imbalance is just a fact of life, and it is everywhere. Everytime you see someone hurt or homeless or struggling, you can see it. But this imbalance does not define life. It does not mean nothing can be done. There is always an opportunity to change something that is unjust and to right a wrong. You are not helpless. You are not a victim to the facts of life. You have the ability and capacity to change those facts. Let me tell you a story.
A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was the way they looked. If one felt it was too hot, the other was cold. If one said the television was too loud, the other claimed it was too quiet. They were opposite in every way. One was an eternal optimist, the other a gloomy pessimist. Just to see what would happen, on the twin’s birthday their father loaded the pessimist’s room with every imaginable toy and game, of every shape, size and colour.. The optimist’s room he loaded with horse manure. That night the father passed by the pessimist’s room and found him crying bitterly. “Why are you crying?” the father asked. “Because my friends will be jealous and they all need different sorts of batteries!”. He continued to cry and cry and feel pity for himself among his many presents.. The father then heard cries of joy from the other room. He rushed in to find the other twin dancing in the manure, and throwing it above his head like confetti. “Why are you so happy?” He asked. The twin replied ; “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”.
This story explains why people around the world are constantly unhappy. Some are laden with “gifts”; the privilege of a safe home in a safe country, good health, resources, family, friends,rights, and an education like this, and yet claim that life is not fair. I’m not belittling your problems but in order to love life we must be grateful for what we have and look towards the “other twin”. We should look at those who have been given a pile of poo and are dancing around in it. See children in slums playing soccer with a deflated ball. Consider tribes in Sudan and Congo, who have next to nothing, jumping rope and tossing sticks. See that they take what they have and expect the best of it, make the best of it.
This is where compassion comes in. A word which here means, understanding, feeling, suffering with another. Yes, we can see, we can consider, we can pity them from afar. But comfort is the opposite of progress. If compassion comes into the picture, everything changes. I told you before that you are not helpless. That you can change what life gives you. Now I am telling you that you are not helpless to other people’s struggles. You don’t have to sit back and watch the world go by. Mary Shelley, once said; “Life, although it is an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.” So defend it. Love your life for what it is. Love others too! Be grateful, be hopeful, and live! Live with compassion and be content and learn to live with purpose. Because if we can give a purpose to a meaningless definition, we can give life new value. It doesn’t have to be a state or a period of time. It doesn’t have to be unfair! It can be so much more than that. So take your gift and be grateful for it. And as Mother Teresa once said; “we have only today. Let us begin.”
The writing above was written and originally orated by Candace Davy, published on 18/05/2018. Header image by BoingBoing.