Where’s the fairness of it all, the justice or balance?

Sometimes you just have to believe, sometimes that’s all you can do. Believe. Believe that in the end there really is a balance to it all, that there is an ultimate fairness to the world, that everyone receives what they deserve. Sometimes we have to close our eyes, cover our ears and blot out the reality, because what else is there to do?

We live in a dark and cruel world full of beauty and wonder blended with the darkest intentions and most malicious will. A world that people joking say ‘is a dog eat dog world’ all while knowing, deep down, that it’s sadly true. That nice guys do finish last, and that unlike a Disney movie, the villains usually win in the end one way or another. Sure, there are stories and examples of nice things happening to nice people, but they’re memorable not because they’re such nice little tales, but because they’re the exceptions to the rules. Movies are made where everything ends happily ever after and we all sigh and smile and say ‘that was nice’ while secretly whispering to ourselves ‘now why can’t that happen to me?’ and we pretend to think that maybe, just maybe, it will. But it wont. You know it, I know it, we all know that life doesn’t get happily ever afters or neat tidy endings.

But then why continue, why bother? If I’m so cynical, why do I take it?

Because I choose to believe in an ideal. This sounds suspiciously religious, and perhaps in some ways it is, but not in the sense of grey bearded old men sitting in clouds who judge us for our deeds. I’m afraid I don’t really believe in that sort of religion, I try to stay rational and tinge my dreamy thoughts with a dose of logic. But I do choose believe that justice, that fairness and righteousness arn’t just silly words used to scare children into being good, and that in some small way they’re real. I’m not sure if it’s religion or not, but it’s what I follow.

I’ve led a good life so far and although I’ve done a few things I regret, had a few occasions where I wish I’d acted differently or done something when I could or should have, I think I’ve done as well as can be expected. I live a pleasant life, I have family that cares, friends I can rely on. I’ve seen more of the world already than many people ever will, and smiled while enjoying some of the most beautiful sights you will ever see. And perhaps, I think quietly to myself, that’s why it hurts so much sometimes. I saw an old man the other day, wheelchair bound wearing an old, musty jacket. To his right was a sign covered in clippings and writing about the conflict he’d participated in, and below that a small donation cup, empty but for a few pennies. My brain says ‘He’s some homeless bum out to leech off your money to get a stiff drink, piss in the flowers and spend the morning sobering up in the police drunk-tank.’ and my heart replies ‘Does it matter if he is? He’s old, and he looks so very tired and sad. Who am I to deny him?’. I gave him a dollar, and he said thank you, and I walked away quietly regretting that I hadn’t given more even though five dollars was all I had.

In Germany I saw a beggar with no legs and only one arm, and on that arm he only had three fingers. He was laying in a corner wearing a filthy jacket and clothing with a small plastic cup in his lap and the most glazed, hopeless expression I’ve ever seen. What did he do to deserve that? What could anyone do to deserve that? Once I saw an old man, very old, dressed in an undersized joke cowboy outfit complete with silly pseudo-western hat, playing badly at a bent banjo whose battered old case lay at the mans feet, nearly empty. It was a terribly sad sight, and the man himself wore an expression that looked on the verge of tears and complete despair. Another time a middle aged man with some sort of obvious mental disability being laughed at by a group of teenagers. The child who wears threadbare old clothing because their family can afford little else. The druggie in the streets, the beggars, the tales of massacre and butchery in foreign lands, robbery, murder, oppression….

There has to be SOME sense to it all, I have to believe that. And although again and again my mind tells me it’s futile and pointless, live by those dreams. At least that way, at the end of the day, I can look in the mirror and smile knowing that at the least I follow those ideals. I *can’t* change the world, not in the grand and dramatic way portrayed in books or movies, or in those stupid army commercials or charity adds. But I *can* make it a slightly nicer place, if only a little, for myself and the few who know me. I’ll try to help those who need it when I can, even if they only intend to take advantage of it. I’ll support my family and be there for them when they need it. Be friendly to strangers, try and be polite even when I’m in a foul mood. Hold the door open for someone, offer to help carry a heavy load, and give a little when I can to charities even if it’s only a bit. It wont change the world, but it will let me live with myself, and perhaps that’s enough really.

I’m not naive, although there are people who undoubtedly think I am. I read more than is probably healthy for me and have an eye for history, I’ve traveled, talked to people, most importantly I’ve listened. I’m far from the only person to think like this, nor will I be the last. It’s a phase I’m led to understand, youthful vigor and all that, and I’ll grow out of it with experience and time and learn to live with reality. Well you know what? Fuck reality, screw the world, and to hell with expectations. “Ooo, rebellion!” The world answers “That’s also to be expected.” to which I can’t think of any clever reply, all I know for sure is that at least I can live with myself and feel some pride. Maybe someday I will grow out of it, become a world wearied worker and live my little pedestrian life, but that’s later, and for now I choose to believe.

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