Thursday, May 17, 2007

Karma - A Bitch? Or a Hoax?

Last Friday night, I retold one of my favorite stories from high school. And I ended it by saying, "And that's when I started believing in karma. Because I thought that if someone didn't treat me right, karma was on my side and would get em for me!"

After telling that story, I started thinking about karma again. Do I still believe in karma? I like the idea of it. And the mysticism. But I've seen so many bad things happen to good people. That's not exactly how karma works, though, is it? Isn't it just that if you do good, good will come back to you and if you do bad, bad will come back to you? But it can't be perfect. Let's look it up -

Pronunciation Key - [kahr-muh]

1. Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman. Compare bhakti (def. 1), jnana.
2. Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person's deeds in the previous incarnation.
3. fate; destiny.

There are still a couple people, if my original philosophy that karma was all about being good or bad to me holds true, who still haven't gotten their just desserts. Recently, in fact, that has begun to puzzle me...and irritate me. So my belief in karma started to fade, without my even realizing it. Until yesterday, that is.

A wonderful woman that I know, a mother of a close friend, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and went back to her doctor a couple days ago for a check-up. She was told that some of her tissue was dying and causing a serious infection so she needed emergency surgery. My friend called me at midnight, from another continent, asking if I would take off work yesterday to be with her mom. I said yes, of course.

Yesterday morning, I woke up earlier than usual because I wanted to be at the hospital early, and it was an hour away. Groggily, I ate breakfast and got ready. No time for coffee. But as I was driving, I realized I needed gas and stopped at a gas station in literally the worst part of DC. I got out of my car to pump the gas and thought I had better lock my cardoor...then locked my keys in my car.

I was stuck without my cell phone, without cash and without a clue what to do. I walked to a police station that was only a block away and asked the nice officers there for help. They called a sergeant on duty who had jimmies to see if he could get into my car. After waiting an hour for him to show up, he couldn't get into the car. My eyes teared up, feeling sad for my friend's mom who was scared and alone and also sad that I wanted so badly to make this easier for her and her family. My foolishness was preventing me from being there when she needed someone the most.

The sergeant had pity on me and told me he would call a locksmith. He did. And there was more waiting. I called my mom collect (no cash) from a pay phone and asked her to call the hospital for me. More waiting. And dodging a man clearly on drugs as well as a couple "hey baby!'s" from passersby. Finally,the sergeant came back and told me he would wait with me for the locksmith.

While the sergeant was giving someone directions, I saw a AAA truck pull up and thought they were who he called. They weren't, but the man was kind enough to help me. He told me he wasn't going to charge me. He said he still needed to earn his blessing for the day. Karma.

I thought maybe since I was doing a good deed by visiting with my friend's mom, I was being rewarded with kindness from a stranger. I started to feel good. That the universe was recognizing me. I was so relieved to be back on my way, thanked everyone profusely and smiled as I drove to the hospital.

Then I remembered why I was going. Breast cancer. A kind, genuine, good woman had breast cancer. A woman and a family who have already suffered more than most ever do. That can't be karma. And I'm back to being confused about the ways of the world. Why do bad things happen to good people? Maybe this whole karma thing is just a ploy to scare people into being good and nice.

All we can do is pray. And try to be the best people we can be.


template by