When Life’s Not Fair

I’ll tell you flat out. The only thing that’s fair in life is that everybody will get thrown under the bus at some point. There are situations where the stars align and it seems predestined for you to fail.

Blame it on fate. Blame it on humanity. Blame it on God. The truth is, it doesn’t matter who is on the receiving end of the blame because situations like this simply happen.

I am uniquely qualified to talk about this because yesterday… well yesterday I lost my teaching assistantship at Auburn. This means I will not be teaching COMM 1000 classes next semester. My teaching assistantship is what supplied the funding for my tuition as well as my living expenses. My grades were good, so I can still take classes. The problem is that I don’t currently have a reliable method of paying for them. But this blog post is not to complain or give you the latest report on my life. It’s about life not being fair.

Know this. When I got released from the assistantship, I did so with a clear conscious. I did so knowing that:

1. I made a great COMM 1000 teacher.
2. What happened was absolutely not my fault.

This is the case of one or two people who hold far too much power and far too little accountability simply having it in for me. And worse still… I still don’t know what I did wrong.

I don’t have any intention of eliciting sympathy. I say this because it can happen to you. It will happen to you. It probably already has happened to you. This whole scenario came in like a storm, crashing into my life and affecting my future so suddenly that I didn’t have time to react. In January I was riding the highs of an incredible first semester of graduate school. Now I’m just as suddenly being cut from the herd for no apparent reason. It’s simply not fair.

There’s a way to handle situations like this, though. It’s not through getting angry and blowing up at everyone in your life. Situations like this require far more grace. Two good things will come out of this.

First, I’m required to love the people who have hurt me. Jesus’s two highest commandments are words that I live by. First, I must love God. Then, I must love people. And love these people I do. I think about them every day. I pray for them. I want them to be saved and to have success and to have happiness. I don’t love them with begrudging angst, simply doing so to satisfy the minimum requirements of my faith. I love them with the full onslaught and force of my heart, just like I love every member of the human race. I am trying to be godly, and being godly requires an absence of hatred from your heart.

Second, I’m now able to better talk about my faith. This is just one more trial that looks good on the resume that is my testimony. From a social standpoint, graduate school required me to hide that faith in the shadows of a topic that was more about people than God. I will never be pushy. I will never preach to anyone. But at least this situation exposes the underlying faith that allows me to process things calmly. In other words, I’m better able to talk about my faith.

I will not be defeated or disheartened. This is nothing more than a learning experience for me. Do I want to finish graduate school? Yes, absolutely. Will I try as hard as I can to recover and get my Master’s degree? Undoubtedly. But I do not define my success based on how many degrees I have or how much money I make or what some people think of me.

My success is determined by how I love God and how I love people. Anything else is simply a tool to reaching those overall objectives for my life.

“When good things are unraveling, bad things come undone.”
– Jars of Clay, Boys (Lesson One)


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Matthew Estes

Matthew Estes currently exists in the ether between graudate student and full-time worker. One day he hopes to be a full-time novelist and blogger, but until that day comes he spends his time playing video games, eating pizza, and being with his soon-to-be wife. However, he has yet to do all three at the same time. Bucket list stuff, you know.