The Karma Police

March 21, 2013


When I was a child, my father and I used to have the same conversation nearly every day. It was short and concise, and would almost always begin and end the same way. It went a little something like this:

Me: (in an angry tone) That’s not fair!

Dad: (in a calm but firm voice) Well son, life isn’t fair.

I would then exit stage left, stomping loudly, as my father kept his place behind the newspaper.

It was usually a very brief exchange, punctuated by a slamming door, or the exclamation of a word or phrase that would most likely result in a sore bottom.

The End.

This went on for years. I would present my case to the jury (in this case the jury being my father) and what I thought was a very logical, well thought out argument, would always get shot down with a very broad and confusing blanket statement like the one I presented above. And with one swift strike of the gavel, my feeble attempt to gain any sort of leverage or understanding was crushed into dust.

I hated the fact that nothing seemed fair. That Jeremiah Hargroves could watch The Simpsons and I couldn’t. That I had to be in bed by 8:30 on a school night. That my sister got her own room, and I had to share a room with my brother…

I often look back on my childhood fondly, and long for those carefree days, but in reality it was often a very frustrating time for me. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good childhood, and grew up in a very loving family, but I certainly didn’t make things easy for myself. I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I was so preoccupied with everything being fair and balanced, that I cheated myself out of a lot of joy and happiness.

The truth is, of course, my father was right. Not only was life not fair at home, but I would soon learn that life was even more unfair as I grew up and entered the real world. Bad things will happen to good people, and good things will happen to bad people. No matter what anyone tells you, karma is a myth. Sometimes things just don’t add up. But that’s because we live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people, with infinite free will.

The trick is to not let it get you down. We have to remind ourselves that the only thing we can control is ourselves. The variables around us are simply that. Variable. We can hope that if we do things the right way, follow the golden rule, and take care of ourselves, that things will ultimately work out in our favor. But that still doesn’t mean that we have any control over things like the weather, job promotions, our health, or relationships.

Things change. People change. And you will change. Add constant change to an imperfect world, and what do you get? Chaos. But there is beauty in the chaos. There is beauty in a fresh start. A new perspective. A lesson learned. There is no growth in standing still, only in movement. And when we move, we make ourselves vulnerable. But that should never stop us from moving.

Life is unfair. And some things just don’t make sense.These truths can be hard to swallow, and they still drive me crazy sometimes. But life is also beautiful. Inspiring. And most of all…worth it.