I’ve always been someone who considered fairness important. My mother’s mother favored her brother; my mother compensated by being compulsive that everything should be divided equally. I don’t think that is always the fair approach, but I do value fairness very much.
In fact, I didn’t vote for Jimmy Carter when he ran for a second term because I couldn’t bear his response when he was asked whether it was fair that poor women couldn’t get abortions because Medicaid didn’t pay. He said “Life is unfair.” No! If something is unfair, try to do something about it. My hero is Paul Farmer (who runs a medical clinic in Haiti) because he isn’t willing to accept that the world is unfair, he takes action to make it different.
My struggle now is with having to do more than my share. Instead of appreciating the small things that John does do, I fall into resenting that he doesn’t do more. It isn’t fair that I do lots of little things (like installing an arm rest we bought for his car) because he is so slow or might forget or will take weeks to get around to doing it. It isn’t fair that I have to handle all financial decisions and all family travel. It isn’t fair that I have to handle the major house issues. And then John talks to a contractor who comes to the house and thinks he is doing his part. Sometimes I wish he wouldn’t try to help, either because he makes too many mistakes or because I don’t want him to get credit for helping when his help doesn’t reduce the burden I feel. It is the responsibility that makes me feel most burdened, and now I have the added responsibility to double-check everything he does.
I don’t want to be like this. We went to Atlanta yesterday, food shopping and out to dinner. The trouble is, I noticed how he messed up when I needed directions more than I enjoyed getting to some favorite stores and eating Vietnamese food. It is childish to keep thinking: “It’s not fair!” But how do I convince the part of me that has worked so hard for fairness that it isn’t important any more?