Karma. Ain’t it a funny little thing?

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First Posted: 1/12/2015

When someone harms you emotionally, in the back of your mind you might think how sweet revenge would be. Depending on the degree of pain that person inflicted on you, you may either wish for that person to step out in front of a bus or just merely step in a fresh pile of dog crap. There are numerous quotes on the books about karma and revenge; what goes around comes around and things of the sort. But does seeing karma work make you feel better or just feel guilty?

A few years ago, I was in a relationship with a guy who (in hindsight) was not worth a minute of my time, but I gave him an hour of it. After a few blissful months of dating, he broke up with me out of nowhere and then proceeded to rub it in my face, making me the laughing stock among his friends because I was hurt. He said I would never amount to anything and he could do much better.

Flash forward 4 years. I am now in an amazing relationship with someone who loves me. I worked hard to “amount to something” and, as a result, have two writing awards, a radio show, two weekly columns, several promotions and a TV show under my belt. I think I am doing just fine. I haven’t given this guy a single thought in the past few years until recently when I saw him waiting at the bus stop (because he doesn’t drive). I heard through the grapevine that he is unemployed and just had a child with his wife, who gave him herpes.

I would like to say that karma had a hand in this series of events unfolding, but then I found myself feeling guilty about laughing at his misfortunes. I would like to think that his situation is justified by the actions he had taken in the past. But if I stoop to his level and laugh at the lives of others, then it would mean that I was no better than he was. Buddhism teaches us that it is impossible to build your happiness off of the unhappiness of others. Is it considered fate, karma, or even the butterfly effect when life comes back at you to balance the wrongs you have committed in your past?

How does karma work? Is it a constant back and forth? He wronged me, so karma “got him” on my behalf. I laughed at his fate, so was this going to come back and bite me like a rabid dog? I don’t want to find out. I am opting not to test fate or push my luck. I have been very fortunate these past few years and I am in a place in my life where I am sincerely happy with myself.

So to my unemployed, bus stop waiting, baby toting, herpes ridden ex-boyfriend, I send you nothing but the best well wishes for an improved future. To myself, I give a pat on the back for getting to the place that I am in life through hard work and perseverance. Finally, to karma, I give a high-five for a job well done….ok so maybe I am still giggling on the inside, but just a little.