Monday, February 14, 2011


I have a memory like an elephant. Especially when it comes to the audible in life, the spoken word, or the books and articles I read, the written word. Visual cues come and go, but I remember things people said more than they way they looked, and what I have read defines periods in my life more than a photograph ever could.

So when friends say things, I often remember them long after.

It was a couple of years ago. I was going through a trying, lonely time, feeling sorry for myself, and my friend L. was on the phone with me, trying vainly to cheer me up in her unique way. She probably felt some twinges of frustration at me, being that my crying was interrupting her flow of speech. Then she said something that struck a chord in me; "You have alot of good karma coming your way, because of what you've done for those two children".

I paused. I listened. I heard her. Then, somewhere inside myself I filed that phrase away.

Those two children are my niece and nephew, and the 'good karma' she speaks of may have something to do with the relationship I've cultivated with each of them since they were born.

After my sister's divorce, which was a surprise for her, and for all of us, those two children became, if possible, even more special to me. They'd already been through so much upheaval in their young little lives, I was determined to help make their childhood something special, with lots of fun times to remember, and to make sure that this event, their parents split, did not make them grow up too fast.

Karma, as they say, can be a bitch. What I've realized is that it's not really a 'thing' so to speak, so much as a universal 'thought'. We attach meaning to it based on our fear that if we do something unsavory to another, be it dishonesty, heartbreak, deceit, or cruelty, that we will be punished for it. Alternately, when we behave in a positive, kind, or loving way, we will be rewarded. Not really a sane basis to live by, but it does have a kind of soothing effect when you imagine that all those in life who seem to get by doing the most shockingly insensitive things will, at some point or another 'get their just desserts'.

It doesn't always work this way.

Despite my friend's optimistic outlook for my karmic future, the years following had surprises in store, some very unpleasant. But last year, something in me (finally) clicked. I could try to take those hard times in life and evolve them--into a learning experience, a transformation, a new skill, anything that didn't involve me feeling self-pity. So I did. It was not easy, and in no way do I sit here, writing away, looking back, and think that it was. It was brutal, it was difficult, and no, I don't want to glorify that time. It is what it is, and now it is behind me.

So what of my good karma? Well, when I move the words around in my friend's unforgettable statement, I see it this way: Those two children, and what they have done for me are where the good karma comes in. I'm not a parent myself. But now, to them, I am a role model. And that's important, more important than my own selfish existence. They have a big future ahead, a space on this planet, deserving of love and happiness, for the same reason we all deserve it--simply because we are alive, and we live, and we feel, and we (in my belief) have a soul, and there is that feeling of bliss, as my love M. says, of being a good person.

This weekend is Valentine weekend, my first with M, and oddly, we don't really have anything romantic planned, as we are taking care of my niece and nephew from Saturday to Sunday, as my sister is going on a well-deserved vacation. I'm elated that M finds this a great way to spend a weekend, and that he is enamoured as I am with my niece and nephew.

He will leave in a few short weeks to go back to his home in the States, another chapter in our new relationship.

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