Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fair for All

By Anita Sullivan

Don’t you wish life was fair and people got what they deserved (both good and bad) and there was justice for all?  I really do.  But that’s not how things go, and anyone who works with victims or their families knows that better than most. 

Some children I adore are getting the short end of the stick right now.  Their dad is making decisions that are hurting him- but when you’re an adult and make the decisions, you face the consequences.  Their mom is amazing, and showing her kids real love by the way she handles it all.  She isn’t getting what’s fair, and neither are her kids.  What’s fair would be a dad and husband who chooses the right way, keeps his priorities in line, and doesn’t back away from the tough things.  What’s reality is kids and mom who are hurting.  Doesn’t seem fair.

And that’s just one of several situations around me like that right now. 

Since we see so much unfairness in the world, we sometimes try to balance that with fairness in everything we can control.  Sound familiar?  As organizations, we may help only in equal and fair amounts, helping one only how we can help all.  In professional settings, we often only give one what we can give all, even though we may want it different.  At home, we try to give equal portions and equal gifts and equal time.  We try to be fair.
But I heard a superb speaker this week, who said something completely opposite.

“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone”- Andy Stanley

This doesn’t suggest that you drop the quality and quantity of the time, attention, and help that you give those you help or those you love.  It simply means that when you have the chance to really make a difference in the life of one person, take it.  Don’t worry about who you can’t do the same for; give what you can to that one.
Most of us have heard the story of the boy throwing starfish into the sea.  A passerby asked him why he bothered throwing some back when he couldn’t save them all.  He said it didn’t matter.  The boy simply responded “it mattered to that one” as he threw one into the waves, “and that one” as he threw another. 
Those we can’t reach or help can be overwhelming for those of us working to serve others.  My encouragement today is that you aren’t asked to help them all.  But for each person you do, you make a world of difference. 

Today, go out and do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. 

 Anita Sullivan is the sister of a missing person, and long time advocate of victims, even before having a personal connection to the world of lost. During college,Anita found a passion for helping others and was involved in a variety of ministries. She then started a career in non-profit, first working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She went on to work with at risk families through a supervised visitation program before spending several years in fundraising and advocacy. She now tries to reach people with a message of Hope through writing and speaking, while honoring her brother, Michael "Austin" Davis, who has been missing since 2007. To learn more about Anita, visit her at losingaustin.blogspot.com.


  1. Anita: 'Quite a profound quote and an excellent reminder to not "bite off more than you can chew." I often struggle with doing or not doing just that...being aware of my limits intellectually and physically...but always wanting to do more emotionally! We are human and survivors of crime can burn out in the process of helping others too! It is fulfilling...but always a delicate balance.


    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Donna- always nice to know if it helps anyone in any small way.



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