What comes around goes around

CarrouselI have a particular dislike of this little phrase.  It implies this beautiful world in which good things happen to people who do good things and bad things happen to people who do bad things.  I get this image of a carousel where we hop on, pick our horse, and ride around and around in circles forever.  If you pick a good horse, you have fun.  If you’re stuck in the chariot, oh well.  Too bad for you!  You just have to keep going around with the choice that you made.  It’s Karma.

I have to say it’s just not true.  Karma is a myth!  I wish life was like that, I really do.  But in spite of my obvious love of faith, trust, and all things pixie dust, I am a realist.  You can do wonderful things for people and still get figuratively kicked in the teeth.  You can also do horrible things and end up with no consequences whatsoever.  There is no real way we can live our lives to insure than the bad things don’t happen.  People will be mean.  The wicked will sometimes win.  Cheaters will prosper.  It is sad, but true.  It is also OK.

The fact that bad things happen to us is not a sign that we have done something wrong, lived our life incorrectly, or not been good enough.  It means that bad things happen.  Sometimes no matter how much we get right in life, we are stuck with the results of someone else’s poor choices.  And somehow, they are not.  Don’t get me wrong, a positive attitude can do wonders in your life.  It helps tremendously when dealing with the inevitable awfulness.  But the idea that disasters come into our life because we have not ‘put enough good into the world’ is just plain wrong.  It is also damaging.

Life is not a carousel.  We don’t just go round and round riding our own choices up and down in life.  We can get off.  We can change our path.  We can get back on and choose a different horse.  We can say this ride was boring, I’m going to Thunder Mountain! What comes around doesn’t always go around and sometimes that’s a good thing.  Sometimes what comes around is forgiveness instead of grudge, hope instead of fear, love instead of anger.  Sometime we send it, sometimes we receive it, but we have to power to change our story and walk away from the carousel.

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