Hey friends! It’s Courtney here – and I’m so excited for you to check out this interview between with my friend Melanie Dale! Her latest book that launched TODAY. It has a cover you’ll adore and a title – I think we ALL can relate to. “It’s Not Fair!”
Okay, Mel, I love your book. I endorsed your book. Tell everybody what It’s Not Fair is about. Give me your elevator pitch.
Okay, but only if I get to push the button. (Does anybody else’s kids fight to the death for the right to push the elevator button?)
You saw your life going one way, your career heading down a path, your education, your relationships, your health, your whatever, following a certain trajectory, but instead, you find yourself several counties over from where you thought you’d end up. Maybe you’ve experienced the death of a dream. This book is about learning to love these lives we didn’t choose. It’s about dealing with unfair things and how do we cope, and even thrive. Is it okay to be honest about all our feelings? Where is God in all of this? I wanted a place where we could have an honest conversation about all that and also tell funny stories and laugh.
You handle the topic of suffering in a different, raw, and also funny way. Why did you write the book the way you did?
I wanted a safe place where we could talk about this stuff, so I made one for us. I want to sit with you and talk about it honestly, without annoying platitudes or the “perfect” Christian responses. It’s okay to throw stuff and tell God you’re mad and don’t understand. It’s okay to sit in the questions. It’s definitely okay to laugh at your own stuff because it’s yours and you get to do that.
Speaking of annoying platitudes, what are some hurtful things people said while you were going through hard stuff?
During our battle with infertility, people would say things like “God’s timing is perfect.” Which is like saying, “God doesn’t want you to have a baby right now.” I had one guy ask if we were “doin’ it right.” Yeah. I don’t know, buddy, why don’t you draw me a diagram? With our current challenges with our kids, I’ve had several people tell me we can “fix” our child’s autism and proceed to offer all the therapies and plans we’re already well aware of. And I say the wrong thing all the time. We all do, right? It’s not that people are purposely trying to drive you crazy, it’s that we don’t always know how to come alongside people when they’re grieving or experiencing something difficult. We need to learn to show up, be quiet, listen better, and let people have their feelings.
How does It’s Not Fair equip us to do that?
Smack in the middle of the book, I have a chapter of 100 things we can do to help someone. I tried to think through everything I’ve ever done or had done for me. And not everything is going to work for everybody but there are a ton of options and you can circle what you like and angrily cross off the ones you hate. I thought through the “five love languages” and incorporated all the different ways people give and receive love. I also wrote several chapters on different kinds of feelings you might have when going through things and how we process all those feelings in healthy ways and how we help each other. In this book, I want to be your friend if you’re going through something hard and equip us to be better friends to one another.
Be honest. Will this book solve all our problems?
Of course. Ha, no that’s the thing. We’ll always deal with hard stuff. This is a book about dealing with the death of a dream and shuffling forward anyway. We’ll do it together, and we’ll laugh along the way, and maybe we don’t have to wait for our lives to be all figured out and hospital corners before we decide to find joy right where we are. There are no fluffy unicorns, but maybe we don’t need them. Life can be broken and hard and you can have scars and love it anyway.
Guys, you can check out It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose at unexpected.org/itsnotfair or buy it wherever books are sold.