Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pondering Karma...

I've been thinking a lot lately about karma. You don't have to call it "karma"; you can call it "you get what you deserve", or "what comes around, goes around"; or "you reap what you sow", or... you get the idea.

Sometimes, karma just slaps you in the face and calls you an idiot. Like the time I bought 2 small avocados and 1 large one, and the grocery clerk charged me for 3 smalls. I realized it as I was walking out of the store. The little voice inside my head said, "Just go over to customer service and pay for it." The louder, more obnoxious voice said, "Oh, it's only a dollar! No big deal! YOU didn't make the mistake! We're in a hurry! We have to get home!" The big mouth won. I went home and cut into my big, beautiful avocado and... it was totally rotten. I didn't have enough avocados to make guacamole. Still, I had to laugh. Instant karma.

Sometimes, karma gives you a chance to make it right. Like the time I came home from Whole Foods with a basket of blueberries I didn't select and didn't pay for. My kids asked, "What are you going to do, Mom?" I said, "Well, Whole Foods is a 25 minute drive. Next time I go in, I will talk to customer service and offer to pay for the blueberries." We were all satisfied with that, and began happily munching on our free blueberries. I went to Whole Foods and totally forgot about the blueberries. I went a second time, and forgot again. About 2 weeks later, I came home from the grocery store and the red new potatoes I bought for potato salad, (selected, bagged and PAID FOR), were not in my bag!! Damn! NOW I remember those blueberries. (I sent Mike back to the store for the potatoes:-) Still, score another one for karma!

Sometimes, however, things happen that have no rhyme or reason. Try as I might, I can't really find the karmic lesson. I am talking about my tennis league. I joined the TenCap Tournament, which is a little summer, outdoor league, strictly social/recreational, where tennis players from all over the Kansas City area meet up to play some matches. People are matched by their ability, and there are actually other players out there at my level:-) I am an excellent tennis player. (This is me, working on the power of positive thinking!!!) Okay, we all know about my tennis abilities, but that's not what I'm talking about.

I showed up for my first match and my partner never showed up. I called her (no answer); just a no-show, and I had to forfeit my match. It turned out that she had worked late the night before and overslept. I played my second match (with Marcia) and we lost, but it was a good match. I was scheduled for a week off last week, but someone needed a substitute to attend a funeral, so I volunteered. I was just trying to help someone out and I was available to play, so I did. Guess what? My partner never showed up! I called her, her husband said he had no idea where she was. This time, she said it was raining at her house, so she assumed the match would be canceled. (Do I even have to mention what happens when you ASSUME something??) The match was not canceled; it was warm and partly sunny and I had to forfeit. Again.

So, I've been pondering the lesson here. I've thought about reverse karma: maybe this happened to prevent me from embarrassing myself? Nah. It's only tennis; I can live with losing a few matches, even getting creamed. I've decided it's more about forgiveness. Both women apologized and I graciously accepted. I tried to look inside myself for the times I've made mistakes, or bad decisions... and I didn't have to look very far! I was reminded of one of the prayers of St. Francis of Assisi: "It is in the giving that we receive; it is in the pardoning that we are pardoned..." I hold on to the hope that, when I need it most, when I screw up badly, someone will find it in their heart to forgive me, too.

Hey, maybe it is karma, in a way, after all! Or, maybe it's only tennis.

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