Thursday, September 04, 2014

The concept of DESERVING is one I struggle with.

What do we deserve?  How do we measure that???

Do I deserve to be married to a man I love and who loves me right back?  I'd like to think I do.  But then does a woman who chose a crappy husband deserve what she got?  What if she's a good decent person who made a bad choice.  Did she get what she deserves?  Now how about people who marry for love, and it works, and it's good… but by some cruel twist of fate they can't be together anymore?  What if one of them is the victim of a horrible disease that robs the body and the mind, leaving him unable to communicate?  Who deserves that?  NOBODY.  I wouldn't wish that on a worst enemy let alone a loved one.  What if, god forbid, a spouse dies too soon?  Nobody deserves that.

Do I deserve to live on a beautiful property in the country?  Do I get to be there just because I want to be there?  Because I dreamed of it and wished for it?  Did I work hard enough to end up there?

What if it's not mine?  What if I'm there on borrowed time and have overstayed?  Is that the result of mistakes I made in my adult life, and therefore I don't deserve a permanent home?

How about my children?  What good could I have done, in this life or any other, to deserve two young people that amazing and awesome and wonderful?  And how, when other people have suffered because their children are in jail, or in full time institutionalized care, or missing or gone forever?  My god, I am so lucky, so appreciative and I don't care if I've done anything to deserve them.  I'm just thankful.

It's the same with the family I was born into.  Maybe I didn't deserve them, but I got them, and it's shaped me into who I am.  Blessed again.  All I had to do was enter the world.

Do I deserve the privilege of being Canadian, with good health care and public education, and democracy, and no tanks rolling down my road shooting everything in the way, no bombs going off overhead?

But then, do I deserve a crooked spine and a scattered mind and a fragile constitution?

Do I deserve to be chased for most of my life by a sneaky lurking depression?

Do I deserve horses?  It's not actually a god-given right.

Do I deserve a truck with squishy brakes, a car with rust spots and a broken ventilation fan?

Do I deserve that flashy fancy saddle in the barn, the one that 21 year old me would have gladly gone into debt for?  The one I'll be going into debt for because I ran out of choices and had to make a decision?

(That'll be part 2.)

Maybe we don't deserve anything.  Maybe we can try to work hard and make good choices, but ultimately, we get what we get, and we have to put all our effort into being thankful for whatever we can.  And then deal with it.

I just have to figure out how to deal with it...


Becky said...

This is brilliant and something I struggle with. I have no problem dealing with the bad stuff, but I feel guilty when I have too much good stuff happen. I still haven't figured out how to respond to Caspian being so beautiful (he's really something in real life.) I feel... well, guilty. and I don't know why.

Janie Upham said...

Guilt Schmilt. I reckon it hails from the same dump as anger, depression and fear. Ride into town and saunter on in with a lit candle, and watch 'em head for the hills.

What's a lit candle and how much'll it cost me? Why, I reckon it's free as a breath, which is the very first thing I wanna be thinking about deserving.

Now, do I deserve to be alive? That don't make no sense. Life's a gift, and so's every breath that comes along. Can a gift deserve a gift? That don't make no sense neither.

It ain't for my pea brain to make sense of any of this. I sit back and look it all over. Here I am. A mighty big thank you to what lets me be here. A big thank you, a big smile in my heart, a sweet little feeling that maybe I don't know what the hay the rest of it's about, but I've got an in with my Creator just by being mighty grateful, and payin' attention to each gift as it arrives.

Now that's my lit candle, and all it costs is being willin' to listen a spec.

Like how a horse pauses to catch the breeze.

Paul Tee said...

We can all do better.
We all deserve better.
The trick is to make the best with what you got. And if you can feel good about it, that’s an added bonus.
How to do it with depression, is a trick I don’t know.

Heidi Willis said...

I hate the word "deserve" with white hot passion, I think because it's been used so wrongly.
When we had the incredible opportunity to celebrate our 20th anniversary in the Caribbean because of the generosity of friends, so many people said, "You really deserve this!"
No I didn't! I totally and completely don't deserve to sit on a sailboat in the middle of a crystal-clear tropical sea. I don't deserve to be served food and drink like I am royalty. I don't deserve time away from my usual hectic schedule.
I think to say we "deserve" something takes away the idea that everything we have is a blessing. Even, sometimes, the hardships. Those can be blessings, too. It makes people stop feeling grateful, because why be grateful for something you've earned that is due to you?
I love your post. You are so blessed, and always so grateful. And I'll recognize how hard you've worked and how great a mom you are and wife you are, but mostly how much you never take anything for granted. Life is a gift.

Brittany Lary said...

Well said, Heidi (Both of you.)

One thing I have struggled with is - for me to say I deserve something makes me feel as if I am becoming entitled. And I'm not. And I also throw myself pity-parties where I whine because for a moment, I think Life is unfair. But then I stop - and realize everyone has struggles. We just may not see it.

I think everyone usually tries to do the best with what they have. Some work and try for more. Some don't.

How do we figure "what our lot in life" really is? I don't believe we have to just accept our circumstances and not strive for more. Nor do I think we should take our blessings for granted.

We should like grand oak trees: firmly grounded, stretching for the sky, and remain strong and sturdy for Life's storms.

mugwump said...

I'm with Heidi Willis on this. It's the word. It needs to go.
I have had a trial or too in my life. I heard, "You don't deserve this!"
Who does?
Who would I give the stuff that rolled down hill and is now steaming goo-ily on top of my head?
Because deserve has nothing to do with this. It just is.
The enormous amount of good in my life is in the same place. It just is. So instead of fretting the joy out of it I let it happen.

mugwump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Undercover Sandy Cove-r said...

I believe the word deserve is probably the most horrid word in the English language. I used to be friends with someone (and her husband) who thought they should spend what they wanted, when they wanted it because they "deserved it." Never mind they didn't have the money.

My friend knew about The Secret and truly believed that the Universe would give/bring them what they wanted; and because of that and the fact that they 'deserved it', were in debt up to their eyeballs, no, make that their hairline and beyond.
The same day they left on a trip to the Caribbean, hydro put a limitor on their hydro meter because they were hugely in arrears. But here they were, getting on a jet plane for a vacation because they "deserved it".

After seeing the fiasco they made of not only their lives but their two children lives as well, I truly started to understand what being in the moment really means. Que Sera Sera - What will be, will be. So maybe it's not a good thing to question what you deserve or not but just be good with what you have.

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm really glad we're having this little talk.

Auntie said...

Heidi, thanks for a very thought-provoking post. In my own experience, the devastating illness that has affected my entire family has taught me some valuable lessons. There is something very liberating about staring down one’s worst fears. Eventually, the unthinkable becomes normal after time goes by. Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book When Bad Things Happen to Good People has been very helpful. He writes about the randomness of the universe and the fact that the laws of nature do not make exceptions for nice people. You summed it up very succinctly when you said: “Maybe we don't deserve anything. Maybe we can try to work hard and make good choices, but ultimately, we get what we get, and we have to put all our effort into being thankful for whatever we can. And then deal with it.” Well said, Heidi. Grandma would agree with that statement!

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