Karma: the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished according to their actions and thoughts.
I’m not sure how much faith I have in karma, but I do believe that you don’t have to completely understand something to have it work for you. Take, for example, cell phones, electricity, airplanes, kidneys…
So, when I stop to help a stranger, do I expect repayment? No. Never. But, I do expect good things to happen, because, in my life, generally, good things happen. I’m not sure why, I just know that good things usually come my way. So, I try to do good things in return and it’s like a spiral moving upward, even when I can’t see a beneficial outcome or a repayment of any kind.
For example, years ago my children were on a neighborhood swim team (go RSM Dolphins). My neighbor mentioned that she’d have to pull her kids off the team because of work conflicts. I offered to drive her kids to and from swim team, resolving her conflict. For me, this was NOT a big deal. Standing on my balcony, I can see the neighborhood pool (that’s how close it is). Driving her kids was a matter of throwing their wet bodies and towels in the car and depositing them on their front porch one minute later. A few weeks later she offered to take my children to a summer arts program where she taught. This was a big deal. She took my children to and from the program everyday for two months. (It was thirty minutes away and conflicted with my twin’s nap time). I never would have been able to have had my children participate in that program without her help. And I’m pretty sure she never would have offered to drive my children if I hadn’t first offered to drive hers.
Another example, a woman I worked with in our church went through a painful divorce. She’d been married for more than thirty years. We became friends. I tried to help her as much as I could. She moved to Lees Summit, Missouri to live with her daughter. About two years later, my sister went through a painful divorce. She had also been married for more than thirty years, and she was moving to Lees Summit, Missouri to live with her daughter. Maybe the move was a coincidence, but I think that because I’d been a good friend to Martha, Martha went out of her way to be a good friend to my sister. She welcomed her at the airport. They went to movies together. Eventually, they became roommates.
One last example, when I was working on my first novel, I pretty much wrote my character up a tree and I couldn’t figure out how to get her out. For two whole days I fretted how I could resolve her conflict. Then I was asked to drive a woman to the Bishop’s Storehouse (the Mormon equivalent of a food bank). This takes about three hours and would eat up (no pun intended) my writing time, but I agreed because, hey, there wasn’t any writing going on, my character was up a tree. What happened may not surprise anyone, but it surprised me. The ladder up the tree didn’t come on the way to the storehouse, or while I was filling the order, or while I was driving back to her apartment, or while I huffed the bags of groceries up the flights of stairs, but the resolution did come and it was brilliant. And I couldn’t wait to get back to my story. Since then, similar scenarios have happened to me repeatedly. I now take a notebook with me to church and to the temple, because that’s where I have some of my very best ideas.
That’s why I believe the best advice for living and writing is this- live life as fully as you can. Do good, be good, think good thoughts and good things will happen.
And that’s why on days like today when something good seemed pretty much inevitable, a sure thing, like a cake in the oven or a check in the bank and then the sure, good thing doesn’t happen, the cake falls, the check bounces, and my daughter stops talking of moving to Laguna and starts talking of moving to Kentucky… I have to remember, what goes around comes around. Do good, be good, think good thoughts.
Good things can happen.
Maybe Kentucky will be a nice place to visit. I think they have horses there.