For the greater part of my life, I’ve been a decent person, opening up doors for people, allowing others in line in front of me, helping out the random stranger when they need a few cents in the supermarket line. I’ve always thought it was a part of being a compassionate human, helping out a brother/sister in need. There were no karmic intentions. But then, given so many deposits into my Karmic bank account, I figured some of it might be withdrawn if I was ever in dire straits. Cut to today:
With two items (I’ll withhold the details for fear of mockery), I headed toward the checkout line at my local supermarket. Three lines had check-out personnel and each one was four full carts deep (who knew 10:30 am on Monday was the equivalent of grocery shopping’s US405 rush hour?) With tears brewing – I had a meeting in three minutes and this was a Disneyland-ish 30 minute wait at best. Scanning the prairie for assistance, I saw her. She sauntered up casually, with the sort of confidence that just radiates from your soul when you know you’re about to make someone’s day. Staring into my forlorn eyes, she lifted a ring-laden finger toward me and curled it toward herself. I’m pretty good with the “come hither” signals and I leaned in for the dash to freedom.
Next to me, an old woman who happened to be fourth in line in the next lane, turned her cart and slid its front end before me. In Malibu, “closest to the curl gets the right of way.” At Indianapolis, “nose in front” takes the lead. I heard the phrase “Back off, Grandma!” brewing in my skull and then felt my hand touch the front of her cart and give it a nudge. With three-hundred items – this grandmother appeared to be shopping for the entire retirement home – the cart barely moved. True, she had the proximity advantage, but I had gotten the signal!
So here’s my question. With all those karmic deposits behind me, I feel like I’ve earned this moment, the high-speed lane opening up just as I reach the pinnacle of frustration. This is the moment when the Universe pays me back for all of my good deeds, right? RIGHT???
It is now 4:00 pm and I am sitting in a post-meeting stupor, staring at the rotating ceiling fan and pondering the ramifications of what I’ve done. Did I cash-in on a history of compassion or did I just make a withdrawal that has left me morally bankrupt and at the mercy of karmic revenge? How does one know when karma is paying you back rather than testing you again to find out if you are really just an asshole?
These questions truly plague my existence.