The Truth about Karma
A few weeks ago in church, one of the members of the High Council gave a talk about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. He gave a lot of good reasons to do so-- chief amongst them was simply it's a commandment. I like to try to keep those. But he also told a story about keeping the Sabbath that was rather memorable: A farmer who shared equipment and other farming responsibilities with other area farmers had a crop in the field ready for harvest. His turn with the equipment came up on a Sunday, but the farmer felt strongly he should keep the Sabbath and put off his manual labor until Monday.
Now, I know what you may be thinking-- the farmer was additionally blessed because he was so righteous.
A hailstorm came and destroyed the crop Sunday evening, and the farmer lost the entire harvest.
Now, I'm not saying this man wasn't blessed in some other ways for keeping the Sabbath. I'm not suggesting he should have done otherwise, or justifying breaking commandments-- if your ox is truly in the mire, get it out, but don't lead it to the swamp on Saturday night and expect it to turn out differently! Was Brother High Council just a really bad storyteller? No.
This tale really stuck with me because the truth of the matter is just because you're behaving well doesn't mean that things are going to go just as you want/plan. That's not reality.
And yes, I still believe what goes around comes around, and it's important to choose the right and put good out there, but adulthood has a special way of reminding us that the equal and opposite reaction of goodness might not necessarily follow the same timeline as objects subject to Newton's Laws of Motion. I DO believe blessings come according to our faith and our needs, but also according to God's timing, not ours.
And boy, is that inconvenient sometimes. And frustrating.
Two brief, recent examples.
About a week and a half ago, I was traveling home from my aunt's house in Artesia. I'd gone to visit for a long weekend, helping her with an antique sale. I love my aunt and would do anything for her, but this time of year is ridiculously busy and the truth is it required a lot of sacrifice of time. But I'm a good egg. I help people.
And not to toot my own horn, but I'd done several kind things that weekend that made me feel good. Again, I won't enumerate them because that's not really the point, but I mention it because I was putting a lot of good things out in the universe.
So imagine my surprise when 30 miles outside Vaughn, New Mexico, I heard the most terrible noise coming from my car. I pulled over and discovered I was dragging something-- some underbody panel (Note: Yes, I know how it happened, and when, and it has since been removed, but it was terribly disconcerting at the time-- not only was it noisy as all get out, but also it felt like someone shuffling a deck of huge plastic cards right under my feet for the rest of the ride home--I was a walking, frazzled nerve for a week).
If you've ever BEEN to Vaughn, NM, or its vicinity, you'll know that cell phone service is not particularly great. I couldn't place a call, and had to try to get info via text and Facebook (which, was actually a little miraculous). I had my hazard lights on, slid as far as I could under the car, and attempted to repair the part with only a pair of scissors.
I'll admit to much weeping a wailing and gnashing of teeth. Highway 285 is a busy road, but not a single person stopped. And as worried as I was about my car, I was actually more heartbroken that no one pulled over to at least ask if they could call someone for me when they got to town. I felt miserably alone.
I'm not proud of it, but my communication with heaven got a little heated. Where was my deliverance? Not in Vaughn, I can tell you that.
But I made it home-- not stronger, but in one piece, and ready to stay put for a while. Perhaps God wasn't ready for me to make a cosmic withdrawal in the blessing account. I still don't know.
Another mildly upsetting thing happened at Costco on Saturday. I'd gone to town with my mom, running errands and taking care of business. I knew she'd be hungry, and it was about 1:30, so I bought lunch at the Costco food court while I waited for my mother to check out. I struggled to push my cart, handle the drink cups and hold two gigantic slices of pizza en route to a table. As it was Saturday, it was crowded. And I don't know if it was just the anonymity of the crowd, or if the guy had an axe to grind with chubby people, but this man walked by, smirked, and said, "Hungry?"
Now, before you assume I have the world's thinnest skin and that he was just teasing because it was certainly a funny sight, let me fill you in on a secret-- I can tell the difference between teasing and disdain. The look of disgust followed by triumph as he lobbed a zinger my way (though, not a particularly clever one), confirmed my suspicions and delivered the blow he'd intended.
I did gather myself enough to call (quietly) behind him, "They're not both for me, jerk wad!" but it didn't matter. He was gone and the damage was done.
So lesson number two-- you can exercise for 2 1/2 hours a day for eight months in a row and still not see vast physical evidence of fitness improvement. I know I'm healthier even if my body is still stubbornly and basically the same shape it's been my whole life. And even though there are MAJOR blessings and benefits from taking care of my health, that doesn't mean that some butt munch isn't going to come and try to knock you down a peg or two, just because he can.
I didn't see evidence of anyone hit by a car in the Costco parking lot, so that furthers my point. I still believe what goes around comes around. Sometimes it's just a really long loop around.