Monday, June 06, 2011

I think I'm removing the word "deserve" from my vocabulary. It's confused me for a long time and now I realize it just doesn't fit in my world view. People say "I didn't deserve to get sick." or to have some other terrible thing happen. They say "You deserve good health now." It just doesn't make sense to me. In human contracts fairness, and I guess deserving, make sense. If I promise to pay you ten dollars for a taxi ride I deserve for you to take me where you said you would in a reasonable, safe and polite way and you deserve your ten dollars and maybe a tip if that is customary. In that context I get the concepts of fairness and deserving. But not in cosmic terms. No one deserves cancer, to be hit by a bomb or a tornado in her sleep, to see her baby die of a bee sting allergy. No one deserves to be beaten, starved, or for that matter coddled like a princess. I think we make ourselves sick and resentful worrying about undeserved ills or the absence of good things we believe we deserve. I think we falsely set ourselves up as "better than" people who struggle or have illnesses or other problems because we believe we somehow deserve our better fortune and them their worse. I think the concept of deserving separates us from others and from our own humanness. Bad things happen. Amazing, wonderfulthings happen. I don't think there is a reason in a cosmic way either way. I mean I believe our behavior influences things like whether people like and respect us and how strong our marriages are. I don't believe trying harder, playing by the rules have the power to guarantee happy endings. Meaning is something we have to give our lives, not something scripted. Given my circumstances, as long as my mind and body cooperate, I can and do give meanings to everything that has happened. It's from that meaning that my life can make sense to me, not some kind of preformed sense of deserving.


Mary said...

Some good points made here, Victoria. No one deserves good any more than someone deserves bad.

Judy Roney said...

This is so interesting and I want to think about it more. The one thing that always pops up in my mind is the undeserving. Who doesn't deserve a good life or life free of damage or grief? Who are those people that we compare the deserving and the undeserving.