Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Karma: to believe... or not to believe... THAT is the question.

I was reading this guy's blog last week, specifically a post titled "I Got Silver in the Special Olympics."

What he said in the first few sentences about Karma really got me thinking.


• noun (in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and
previous states of existence, viewed as affecting their future fate.

— DERIVATIVES karmic adjective.
— ORIGIN Sanskrit, action, effect, fate.

-- definition taken from askoxford.com

I'll explain why.

When I was 5 and 6, I was still living with my birth parents. The 4 of us (including my little sister) lived in a house in a town called Romeoville. We lived around the block from the school I went to - if I could have gotten my parents to cut a hole in the back fence, I could have been at school in 10 seconds! *lol* I had quite a few friends on that block. There was a girl a few houses up the street from me, a girl across the street from her, and in the other direction there lived a girl named Michelle, who lived with her parents and older sister.

I'm now going to admit to something I'm deeply ashamed of, and which very few people know about. So be kind.

Michelle's older sister was what we called at the time "retarded." That word is pretty much out of use now, except in cases of one person putting another down. But this was the early 80's - there was only one word for it, and it was that one.

One day, I'd gone over to Michelle's to ask if she could come out and play. While I was waiting for her, her sister came to the door and started yelling at me. Whether or not she knew what she was doing, I don't know. But me, being young and stupid (stupid being the operative word here), I couldn't understand her; so I did the first thing a 5-or-6 year old would do in that situation.

I made fun of her.

Obviously, I got the dressing-down of my life from Michelle's mother. I'm sure I walked away with at least 3 new a$$holes that day.

The thing is, though, in retrospect I think I know why I reacted that way. I couldn't have recognized it at the time, but Michelle's sister scared me. I think it was because at that age, I couldn't understand how somebody could be like that. I didn't understand that some people weren't born like everybody else. It was almost like seeing an alien for the first time. The ridicule was my way of fighting back - my "defense mechanism," to use a little psycho-babble.

I've thought a lot about that young girl - who would now be in her late 30's - in the last 12 years.

I've often wondered - but never said out loud - if there was a reason Michelle's sister and I crossed paths? Was I supposed to learn something from her?

When I read that blog post about Karma and the Special Olympics, it got me thinking about her again. Karma. Did I create my own Karma when I reacted to that girl? Is that why Syrina is the way she is? Did *I* do it?

Or was it the other way around? Was I confronted with Michelle's sister so early in life in order to understand how a "normal" child would react to a special needs child?

I really don't know if it's one or the other. But I'll tell you this: methinks I definitely believe in Karma. Methinks.

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