Life is not fair !!!

God is not fair however God does not abandon us. Why? because God loves us despite our screw ups.

Life is unfair!

One of the most significant challenges of life is realizing that life is unfair. Our first encounter with our humanty being unfair usually comes in grade school. The cool kid has the Avengers lunch box while I have a brown bag. The girl with the blonde hair has the best clothes, and I am wearing my sister’s hand me downs. The Johnson’s send their kids to summer camp while I must spend summer with my grandparents. Why is life so unfair!

These slights are not monumental, but the slights are real. Unfortunately, this unfairness continues into high school. Ellen made the cheerleaders while you only could get on the chess club. Mr. Ellison favors Gellack even though I am a better student that he is. The most challengng unfairness is when one sibling is the favorite of mom’s throughout her life. In the end, the feeling of being slighted or cheated is devastating.

This brings me to a scripture passage I spoke on a few years ago. It is the story of the prodigal or lost son. Luke Chapter 15 verses 11-32.

The Message version of the Bible

11-12 Then he(Jesus) said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’

12-16 “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all over that country, and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

17-20 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.

20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart is pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’

22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

25-27 “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done, he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’

28-30 “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for my friends and me? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up, and you go all out with a feast!’

31-32 “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

The youngest son had the need to go out on his own, so dad gave him his half of the land he would have inherited. The youngest probably sold the land, and he then took the money and traveled about drinking wine and finding women as companions. Unfortunately, the money ran out.

Maybe you have had to sow some wild oats of your own? Maybe you wasted some money? Maybe you invested poorly? Maybe your parents or an uncle bailed you out? I understand what it means to waste money because have experienced my lack of judgment at times.

The youngest son comes back and is hungry and depressed. He has wasted all that he was given. Interestingly enough he must have taken after his old man since as soon as the father sees his youngest son it is party time. The father has no hesitation…my youngest son is back that is all that is important spare no expense.

Unfortunately, there is an older brother. In fact, our today’s climate is such that it seems like everyone feels like the older brother.

If you had been in your older brother’s shoes, working double shifts while your younger brother lived it up, would you have gone to the party? You would have expected he would get a good scolding, yes or some clearly-defined way created by dad, to make up for all the heartache. There would be a definite period of remorse and pay back the debt. Instead, there is a party. Let’s are honest. There is something here that tweaks our sense of fairness. This just isn’t fair!

There are many theological nuggets to mine in this old story. But this is perhaps the most basic: God isn’t fair in human terms. Sorry. God doesn’t play by our rules or see life the way we see it or keep score the way we keep it. God isn’t fair. And if we’re honest, we don’t like that. Why? Because the idea of fairness has been ingrained in us from day one. Even if we have been a victim, we still yearn for the day when compassion and equality reign.

Unfortunately, God is not fair. And not only that: God has an ongoing love affair with people who screw up. God throws a party of rich food and drinks to get their attention. Jesus invites the undeserving. It is not fair, but it is done out of love. A love so strong that Jesus would violate all the societies norms of his time to love those who others did not love.

In practical modern terms, it looks like this. When Pope Francis was a priest and living in Buenos Aires, he recognized a woman who regularly came to mass over the years and brought her three children which he baptized for her. One day they were talking, and she said, Father, I want you to know you have given me much hope. Francis smiled and called her senorita a term of respect. He did that knowing that the senorita was a prostitute and that she needed to sell herself to feed her children. He gave her some extra food and a blessing because she of all people needed mercy and hope! Why? Because that is what Jesus would have done!


That is just the one side of the fairness coin so to speak. There is another side which is much more difficult. Is it fair that your child died or your spouse died? Is it fair that your sister has money and you do not? Is it fair your neighbor always seems lucky, and you still have challenges Is it fair that you have cancer and that you spend most nights afraid of what may happen next? Is that fair? No, it is not.

If the world were fair, then there would be abundant food, clean water, and resources instead of desert, dry fields, and dirty water. No one we love would die. God did not build fairness into the world. God created the world so that we can perform acts of kindness and love just as he did. The life God has envisioned for us is not one of fairness but one of love not only the people we know but people we will never see.

We are called to follow Jesus being his hands, his heart, and his words to those around us. We are called to share with the hopeless, the poor, and the disenfranchised. We are called to comfort the hurting, the mentally ill, families torn apart by war or emotions. We are called to walk with those who cannot go home because they struggle with their sexual identity or screwed up so bad no one wants them. At my former church, we have gone down to The Crib, a Night Ministry program, in Chicago to feed teenagers who are living on the street because they are not able to live at home. We will feed them, talk to them, and treat them as a person who can be loved. Maybe that is why we are called to follow Jesus because just as there were incredible needs in Jesus’ time, there are the same needs today. We can meet the needs of the people who are in need of love.

Of course, we could also wait all our lives for apologies from the people that hurt us or even an apology from God. After all, we all have beefs with God. We can wait for people to act differently and get a good paying job even though they never finished grade school so they can get off welfare. We can wait till people abandon their homosexuality before we serve them. We could wait to give to someone else when we think we have extra to give. We can disparage all the welfare recipients, the Medicaid recipients, the people living on social security who can barely afford her medicine let alone a meal as lazy or just unfortunate.

Which brings us back to the older brother. We never really know what he decides to do. Does he stay outside and protest in his stinky clothes hating both his brother and father or does he come inside realizing that everyone deserves a second chance because we all mess up. If we believe the stories in our bible everyone is forgiven not once, not twice, but seventy times seven! More importantly, if God does not judge but loves all, shouldn’t we do the same?



A revised introduction for the journey


After a few weeks I decided I needed to clarify my about page.

My name is Frank J Szewczyk (sef-check), and I am a blogger, writer, and observer of life. I am reintroducing myself because I didn’t like the first bio that I had written. Throughout my life, I have done and experienced many things. My life was rough starting out being born premature and having one of the worst cases of clubfoot the surgeon had seen. Clubfoot is a birth defect that causes one’s feet to be turned like a golf club, so you walk on the side of your feet. I had operations on my feet for seven years and wore orthopedic shoe inserts even today.

Those early experiences influenced my life and made me strive for what I wanted. After careers in banking, IT consulting, and ministry I have chosen to become a writer as my next act. During my journey through life, I have learned a thing or two and made many a mistake.  I hope to share what I have learned in the hope that it will help others.

One of the first things I learned was mistakes are the best way to grow if you are willing to deal with the pain of remembering. No one wants to admit to themselves that they make mistakes. Our internal egos are so big that we rationalize to ourselves that it was someone else’s fault or we were doing the best job possible. I submit it is our internal monologue that is the most difficult. Once we admit to ourselves that we screwed up, then it is much easier to acknowledge our mistakes to others.


The Journey thru Life is an aggregation point of thoughts, ideas, mistakes, learnings, humor, sarcasm and whatever I learn along the Journey. I write this with the goal of helping others. I write because of the encouragement I received during my 20 years as a church pastor. I don’t have all the answers, but I can shine a light on what I have learned in the hopes that together we can Journey further in life.

Which brings us to my second idea about life. The Journey thru Life is better experienced together. Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, and tell me I am right or wrong. I won’t take it personally. Hopefully, we can cast more light on our paths so The Journey thru Life will be more rewarding.


Life is too short to deal with toxic assholes!

Get rid of the toxic people in your life!

There are two kinds of toxic people in the world. People that you are near whether it be your family, a friend, or a co-worker. The second type of toxic person is really a toxic persona. This person is fine when you are face-to-face but online there persona is quite different.

Toxic people are those we have face to face contact with on a frequent basis. This could be a co-worker that is always taking credit for your work. It could be a boss who doesn’t get #metoo. It could be a neighbor or close friend who always criticizes you. It could be your significant other who is more concerned about their needs instead of yours.

Toxic people are hard to remove from your life. Often there are legal or employment considerations before you can remove them. Sometimes you’re stuck until the house sells or until the lease is up. Sometimes you have to just find a new job and/or a new city. Removing a toxic person from your life often means you need to take the initiative and remove yourself or at least significantly decrease your personal contact with that person. If you do not initiate change, then nothing changes, and the toxicity goes on.

The second type of toxic person is the one who changes their persona when they go online. Face to face you can get along and have a good time. Unfortunately, once they go online, they adopt a toxic persona which is very different than their personal presence. They spout all sorts of venom online. They deny basic facts. They believe anything that does not square with their worldview is fake news and fake facts. People we thought of as smart and intelligent, kind and generous, turn out to be real assholes online.

Why? Well most of us hate face to face confrontation. We don’t want to offend a friend or relative, so we keep our yaps shut. Once we go home or get I our car and can flip Facebook open or Twitter open we take a f@ck that shit attitude and go crazy. Gay, Straight, people of Color, the opposite political party, even generation versus generation everyone is a viable target. Carl is a nice guy but one of the biggest racists I know. Jane is an excellent co-worker, but her views on women’s rights are just plain stupid. You are tired of her taking every list post your or your friends create as an opportunity to go political. Many a friendship has been damaged thru the miracle of social media.

The greatest problem with toxic people and toxic personas is that they consume our energy or shift our power into the dark world they live in. Once we are sucked in, we lose our ability to pursue our own good. We formulate our response over and over in our heads taking up valuable time and space from what WE want to do or need to do. It becomes difficult to concentrate or even sleep.

What do you do when someone we thought as rational and sane turns out to be the biggest jerk or bitch in the world?

  • Engage them hoping to change their minds
    1. Change is highly unlikely as they can hide in their social media shell and continue to spout venom.
  • Answer every social media post with logic
    1. The toxic persona is not logical. They are toxic because they eschew logic because then they would have to change their worldview.
  • With Facebook one can:
    1. Unfriend-removing them entirely from your life at least digitally. Sometimes this is the best way because you know they will goad you into a fight. Forget about it and move on and away from their venom
    2. Unfollow-so that you do not see their posts. You can remain friends, BUT you don’t have to see the crap they post. It will not end up flowing through your News Feed. If they ask you did you see my post about X all you have to say is sorry I must have missed Besides if anything big is going on you will find out through other sources.

    3. Block-which prevents communication between you and your Facebook friend.

I would encourage you to develop an exit strategy from the toxic people and/or personas in your life. Knowing what your options are is key to coping with difficult people. Knowing your exit strategy also lessens the stress on you so you can live life to the fullest.trump

Why should you do this?

Because life is too damn short to be dealing with toxic assholes.


Buyer Beware!

Recently I decided to test out some of the ads that appear on Facebook. Specifically, I reviewed ads that promoted SEO, blogging, and novel writing. Out of 20 ads only two turned out to be useful. You can email me if you would like to know what I liked.  The other 18 were well-hyped trash.

One ad redirected me to the oldest ad on the web. You probably remember those ads which seemed to be at least two miles long promising everything under the sun. Along those two miles every foot there was a button to buy now and save before the price goes up or until the offer is fully booked.

Another promised a lifestyle on the beach by becoming a writer. First take our three $ figure course and you can write from the sand.

Another filled my inbox with so much crap I unsubscribed.

Another had a limited offer if you pay a nominal shipping charge. That limited time offer has been ongoing for three months and counting.

Still another promised that you could write an ebook in less than a day and make big bucks.

What these mavens of “information” don’t tell you is that you need to check your brain at the door. They really are not interested in you becoming a better blogger, or SEO expert, or novelist. They want you to spend money on their product period.  Whether you are a success or not is irrelevant just buy my product.

Their other goal is to capture your email address so they can flood your inbox with solicitations for more crap. Snake oil salespeople know once they obtain a critical mass of email addresses a certain percentage will respond to their offers. With a large enough database even a $2 profit can generate money.

After reading several different blog freebies you realize that there is nothing new under the sun. The freebies essentially say the same things. The problem is nothing is free! How much would you charge someone to read their material? How much is an hour of your time worth? How many lost opportunities do you miss because you spent time on Facebook and then in your email inbox awaiting the guaranteed way to make a six-figure income?

The two websites for writers I found interesting and invested my time and money were hype-free and straightforward. No insults to my intelligence. No absurd promises. No promises to make one a great writer and cure cancer or bring world peace with the purchase of their product.

In retrospect maybe the other 18 sites were just promoting “sales fiction” writing.

Buyer beware my friends!





Life Always Curls!

Two winter Olympics ago I fell in love with the sport of curling. I loved the idea that mortal men and women could stand on the ice and push a 42 pound round flat stone on a sheet of ice roughly 150 long and 16 feet wide. I can barely remain upright when there is just a tad bit of ice on the ground. I am in awe. LOL. If you want to know more about curling check Wikipedia which has an excellent review of the sport, Also check out the about curling page on the World Curling Federation which has educational videos.

In short curling is shuffleboard, or bags, or corn hole on ice. You slide your rock across the ice and try to score points by coming closest to the center. Nothing is guaranteed as each team can knock the opponents stone out of scoring position. The match lasts eight to ten ends (think innings).

What is amazing about curling is that sliding the stone puck would make it a fast-moving game. The reality is that a puck can move fast as fast as the curler wants it to go the whole idea of curling is to be precise. Curlers bend their way around the other pucks in play to score points or take out the opposition.

curling stones

Some say the game of curling is chess on ice. I think it is a metaphor for life itself.

Life is never easy, but it is good. We all experience victories as well as defeats. Sometimes the path we seek in life comes true. Other times we think we have positioned ourselves properly to reach our goals but then we get knocked off course by some unseen event. Our only choice is to move forward even if it means we may have to change or bend our course to get around some obstacles.

The key in curling as well as just about any other sport is that you must forget about your good shots and your bad shots because the only important shot is the next one. When a curler or a baseball pitcher throws a bad shot or bad pitch they need to put it behind them as soon as possible. Likewise, if they throw a good pitch they cannot bask in the glory because with every throw the game changes.

Whether it is life or curling or baseball or other sport where individual efforts matter we always must move forward, even if it is just an inch at a time. It is the movement through life that sustains us. It is our calling and the gas for our engines even in tough times.

My father died when I was 17 during my high school senior summer. I was scheduled to leave for college in September but dad suddenly died at age 43, in August. My worldview was destroyed. Everything I thought I would do was predicated on the idea that I would have two living parents in my only child life. Now everything changed.

It was strange not having my dad around. It was difficult trying to pick up the pieces. When someone dies prematurely it is never easy for the survivors. Slowly I shifted my thoughts and direction. I enrolled at a local university so I would not have to leave home. I found local employment and maintained my friendships. My relatives were very helpful during this time as they rallied around us.

Little victories popped up. I didn’t cry one night when I went to sleep. My dad’s friends could tell me stories about their exploits. I felt like going out and doing something on the weekends. After one year I felt like I had moved forward. In some areas of my life an inch and in others several feet. It would however take several years before I could put my father’s sudden death in perspective and move on.

Life during that first year, so slowly like a curling stone trying to find its way through a mess of stones. I started to place myself in positions to succeed. I took jobs that were shitty, so I had money coming in. I went away to University. I met my future wife. I recalculated my career path from banking to ministry. Rarely did the moves come quickly. Some were well plotted out others where chaotic, but all were made with the idea that I could only move forward. Staying in place or moving backward was not possible.

I write this piece not only for myself but for all others whose life has been turned upside down. I pray for those who lost loved ones in the  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Right now the tears and emotions are raw. It is a time of mourning and remembrance. Your lives will never be the same but your lives will move on. Inch by inch, minute by minute until there is a time when the horror will fade and only the good memories exist. God will help you navigate through life. You may have to curl into it and you will have good days and bad days but eventually you will move on. Moving on is the greatest tribute you can make to those who died for nothing. Make your life be about something no matter the obstacles in your way.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue your journey.


Should we watch the Super Bowl?

The biggest television event of the year will one day cost family and society as some of the players succumb to CTE due to concussions.

I know I am troubled by this fact. I have to work a Super Bowl party by a local Lions club. The money raised will fund college scholarships. Does a good deed cancel out the bad? It is an ethical question that many are now trying to resolve in their own minds and then society.

What is your opinion? Will you watch or will you obstain?