A meditation on Matthew 20:1-16
for the community of St. David of Wales, Shelton WA, September 24, 2023
“It’s not fair!” The words rang from my mouth as a child whenever the gifts or desserts or treatment my sister and I were given seemed unequal. And that concept of fairness, the compulsion to split everything equally, and the grumbling of “it’s not fair” continued with my own two daughters coming to a head in the infamous cookie incident. When my girls were school-aged, I’d make a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies every few weeks. I’d time the baking to finish just before picking them up at the bus stop, and consuming our cookie was a delicious, and fair treat on that first day: We each received two cookies on our little plates as an after-school snack, and two more for dessert.
The trouble would begin the next day when I was home alone doing chores, walking past the kitchen every hour or so and popping a cookie in my mouth with each pass. By the time my girls arrived home from school on day two, there would be one or two snack cookies, and another one after dinner, if they were lucky. It all came to a head when the oldest was in Junior High and my girls came home to a house devoid of cookies. In less than 24 hours I had consumed nearly the entire batch.
“It’s not fair,” they cried, and they were right.
Next time I baked cookies, I divided them equally into bags and labeled them by name. Of course, I devoured my bag before the rest of my family. And soon I was tempted by cookies that clearly belonged to my loved ones. I wasn’t going to steal them. But I wasn’t above begging. Would they like to give one to their mother, who had baked them? No, they would not.
Well, then, Would they sell me a cookie? For a quarter? For a dollar? No, they would not. They wanted what was theirs, what they had been promised. They wanted what was fair.
I began blogging about "This or Something Better" in 2011 when my husband and I were discerning what came next in our lives, which turned out to be relocating to Puget Sound from our Native California. My older posts can be found here.