Do you believe in Karma? Do you think that when you do something bad on purpose, that the universe will get even and punish you by having something bad happen to you in return and vice versa?
To me, if you believe in karma, then it means that you are aware of your conscience. (This is not to say that people who don’t believe in karma do not have a conscience.) It’s that little voice in your head or feeling in your heart that tells you whether something you plan on doing is good or bad. I believe that God gave us a conscience so that when we act according to how it makes us feel, we will receive good karma. If we go against what our conscience is telling us and do something that is wrong, we get bad karma.
A few days before my wedding, I had a few last minute errands to run. I was at the mall with my two best friends and after we had found what we were looking for, we decided to stop for a bite to eat. We ordered our food, filled up our drinks and chose a table where we would sit and enjoy our lunch. A few tables over was a tall African American man wearing a cowboy hat at a table by himself. On the table he had a notebook and an array of papers which he had been writing on. It was clear that this man was probably homeless, his clothes were worn and he was mumbling to himself as he was writing vigorously in his notebook. At first, he asked us what time it was, and we told him. Then he asked if we had any money to spare for food.
When it comes to homeless people, as mean as this may sound, I don’t like to give them money. Instead, if I’m driving home with untouched leftovers or an unopened water in my car, I will offer it to them. I have given homeless people money, but I always wonder what they’ll really be spending it on. Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs? I would much rather help someone by providing them with food or water.
When the man with the cowboy hat asked if we had any money to spare, I asked him what he would like to eat from the menu. He told me that he wanted a #1, so we went up to the register together and ordered his meal. He thanked me and we both went back to our separate tables. My friends and I finished our meals and headed to our cars. As we approached the parking lot I realized that the man in the cowboy hat had followed us outside. He called for our attention and stopped us in order to give me a piece of paper that he had written on. He talked about some sort of insurance office that he used to work at in Pasadena and wrote a street address on the back of the paper. Most of what he was saying didn’t really make any sense, he was mumbling and his words were jumbled but I could tell that what he was trying to do was thank me in any way that he knew how.
It felt good to be able to help someone and see that they were truly grateful in return. I thought maybe this man was once an insurance agent in this office he spoke of in pasadena. Maybe he was living a normal life and suddenly something traumatic happened in to him, a brain injury or some sort of mental illness which caused his life to take a major turn. I could be totally wrong but this was just what went through my head. Regardless of how he ended up in his situation, he was a nice man and I felt grateful to be able to help him.
Fast forward to the night before my wedding… I was playing it cool on the outside, but a total mess on the inside. I was worried that something would go wrong, that the 10 months of planning and the thousands of dollars my parents had put into this one day would be ruined by any small mistake. Most of all, I was nervous about reciting my personalized vows in front of 100 guests. I got about 4 hours of sleep that night, and as hectic as things were the morning of the wedding, I felt strangely calm. I was no longer worried about all of the things that could possibly go wrong, instead I was trying to live in the moment and appreciate every minute of the day.
Having the ceremony outside and near the beach, I knew that there was a greater chance of wind. I wasn’t wrong, the wind was much stronger than I thought it would be. This was probably great for the guests who were sitting in the sun but just as I walked out of the building, prepared to make my grand entrance and cuff arms with my dad, my veil flew right off of my head. As my family was waiting on the sand, I could see them looking in our direction eagerly anticipating our walk down the aisle. I struggled to shove my veil back into my tightly pinned hair and once the veil was in, the rest of the day was like a dream. Of all the things that could have possibly gone wrong, the worst thing that happened was that my veil flew off of my head.
In the days following the wedding, people would ask if it was everything I had hoped it would be or if anything went wrong. Even I was impressed that the veil incident (which wasn’t even a big deal) was the only thing that went wrong. The wedding was even better than I thought it would be. After seeing so many youtube videos of “wedding fails” while I was planning the big day, I couldn’t help but wonder why I got so lucky. What did I do to deserve such a perfect day? I thought back to that man with the cowboy hat and couldn’t help but wonder if this was God’s way of thanking me for doing a good deed.
More recently, during one of our first outings in North Carolina, Blake, Logan and I went out for a few beers at a local bar & grill. Sitting at the table next to us were two older couples enjoying dinner and drinks. When it came time to pay for our beers, the waitress explained that one of the men from the table next to us had already paid our entire bill. We got up to thank the generous man and he said, “hey, no problem, just pay it forward!”. If you haven’t seen the movie “Pay it Forward” I seriously suggest that you do. It’s a movie about good deeds, starting with one person doing something nice for another person then the second person does something nice for a third person and so on. We left the bar that night eager to do something nice for someone else.
Could you imagine if everyone did just one nice thing for a stranger each day, even something as small as opening the door for someone? The world would probably be a much better place. I hope that reading this has inspired you to do something nice for someone else today, if not for the sake of good karma, then at least for the sake of making our world a better place.