When Life Seems Unfair

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Lloyd Morgan despair square

Twelve years ago, I remember standing in the kitchen of our first home, the one my wife and I bought about eighteen months into our marriage. It was very early on a Saturday morning. My wife was still sleeping, but my mind was greatly troubled. You see, I received a letter from my mother the night before when she handed it to me. I refused to read it that night because I could sense from her that something wasn’t quite right.

The letter was disturbing. The handwriting was in her characteristic series of loops and turns, disjointed spacing, and random thoughts. It had an air of great disappointment and grave danger.

So with much trepidation I read it, slowly poring over each word, searching for an ounce of hope.

The letter read in part:

“I feel so bad, and I don’t know how to explain how I feel, lonely, frustrated, and scared to death. I want to die, and put myself out of my misery. I pray every night and day that I can go to sleep and never wake up until I wake up in my heavenly Father’s arms. I don’t want to leave you but I can’t go on any more. So depressed and lonely.”

Of course, I feared that she had or would take her life, that she would overdose on the myriad of prescription drugs she had to regularly take, or that she would neglect to give herself her periodic insulin shots to regulate her diabetic condition.

Over the years she had endured surgeries to try to improve her decreasing vision, a bout with depression, and a broken ankle from a slippery fall down ice-covered steps two months before. She was unable to drive anymore, nor work her two jobs she enjoyed. Considering all of that, including her sudden loss of independence, it’s understandable why she found herself in a hopeless state of despair.

At that point on February 1, 2001, my mother wanted to die. Up until then. she symbolized strength and independence in my world, and a love that would bend over backwards for her only child. But now she felt weak and was reaching out to me for help.

At that juncture, life gradually went further and further down for her. Though she enjoyed a few high points in her life over the next seven years, her continually deteriorating health and uncertain finances meant that her life would never again be what it was.

Despite my intense love for her, I could imagine why she felt the way she did as she penned that awful letter. Who would want to live a life that had become not worth living? After years of fighting and surviving and praying, this was what life had to offer? This was how God treated His child? Was this all there was to an existence on this earth?

She never did act on the desire to end her misery as I feared she would. Instead, she managed to make it through each painful day for another seven years after writing those words. Then, five years ago in the month of May, she quietly passed away.

It seems so incredibly unfair at times… One person has plenty; the other person barely scrapes by. That woman next door has ideal health; that man in the corner over there is weak and feeble. The child in church has the perfect home, the perfect parents, the perfect school; some teenager has run away from home, living on the streets or at a rescue mission, questioning what went wrong.

These scenarios will never be answered or understood on this side of heaven. Some questions remain questions, at least for the time being. And that’s hard. Very hard.

But I for one am looking forward to that great day when the questions will have answers, when I can look beyond my limited perspective and behold the grand view of the master plan, when I will rest in the comfort and safety of God’s arms, and hear with my ears once again the words my mother wrote to close that letter…

“I love you very much.”

Image by Lloyd Morgan. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Modified reprint by Thomas Mason.
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