Do We Have What We Deserve? Do We Get What We Deserve?

I’m thinking that the whole idea of “deserving” has to be one of the most destructive concepts to cross the horizon in the span of human history.  After seeing a recent “Like” on Facebook by a high school acquaintance who married lots of money, I really started mulling this.

She ‘liked’ Mitt Romney.  I’m sorry, but it always puzzles me, this liking of what to my mind is such a painfully unforgiving and shallow enterprise these days (aka pretty much anything emerging from the GOP).

But then I thought that it is probably comforting, if you are very wealthy, to feel that you somehow deserve it.  Deserving it would make it all right, I guess, that you have all that square footage and silverware when people are living in cardboard boxes within a 10 miles of your mansion.

That’s because if you deserve what you have, then you can also believe that they deserve what they get.

That must be why god is so important in this worldview, too.  After all he (and I do mean HE) is the one who decides about all this having and getting and deserving. You really don’t have to worry about it too much.  God sorts it all out – and in the end everyone gets and has what they deserve.  (So, I guess in some ways the real question is, what is ‘the end’ and how do we know when we’ve gotten there?)

My worldview, as you may have surmised, is quite different from the one described above.  And I want to ask my Facebook friend if she really believes that anything more than accident and happenstance separates hers from the life of a young man scratching out a hardscrabble existence in North Philly.  Does she ever imagine what her day, today, would be like if she had been born in Iowa or Tanzania?  What if she had been interested in field hockey rather than cheer-leading?  What if her father had died young or her sibling had been born with special needs?  What if she hadn’t been ‘pretty’?

Do we really deserve the small accidents and coincidences that can so profoundly affect our life stories?  Does the woman I talked to last week  – the one who’s been living with a toothache for months because she can’t afford to do anything about it – really deserve that?

Why?  Really … why?

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2 Responses to Do We Have What We Deserve? Do We Get What We Deserve?

  1. Alice says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes!!!! I couldn’t agree more. It’s selfishness driven by entitlement–or maybe the other way around. Whichever, it’s mean hearted and a sign of a damaged mentality and culture.

  2. Julie says:

    Very thoughtful post. I want to ask, what does it mean to live in a civilized society?

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