Whenever an unfortunate incident wreaks havoc on our lives, we find ourselves asking the question, “What did I do in a past life to deserve this?” Karma, “what goes around comes around” philosophy/belief, has become part of casual conversation, often mistakenly thought of as almost fatalistic – as if we have no control over what happens and karma is our predetermined fate.
Don’t be afraid. This is not a lesson in “Do unto others..” nor is it a deep reflection on the workings of the universe. An unexpected event occurred recently that forced this contemplation on karma – the concept of cause and effect.
Brief synopsis of my daily life pre-January 16, 2009:
Wake up early*…get 4 kids up, prepare 1st breakfast*, feed, and get ready**…drop #1 off at school by 8:45am…prep and feed 2nd breakfast, play, read books, grocery shop, snack time, clean-up…lunch…drop-off #2 off at school by 12:40pm…#3 and #4 down for nap*…
* Times and The Nurturing One’s capacity to prep first breakfast may vary depending on #4’s sleep pattern du jour
**#1 has been taught to get herself ready, feed herself, prep own lunch/snacks but occasionally is guilty of handing me forms/tests/agenda to be signed last minute and losing a glove/hat/scarf
Basically, my life is now scheduled in 2 hour increments…You may notice that I wake up but may have forgotten to type “get myself ready” into the schedule? No, no, my friends. I will gladly leave the house without looking in the mirror, than sacrifice 15 minutes of sleep. I find that slapping on a pair of expensive-looking shades instantly gives a “just-got-out-of-bed look” some glam. The bags are hidden and you can pass for that rockstar “I didn’t brush it on purpose” hairstyle.
Pre-Jan 16, life was busy yet manageable and extremely fulfilling. I finally had a routine with the kids, escaped the mid-winter doldrums, and survived the holidays unscathed. I will dare say that Ever-Patient’s infinite optimism was finally taking hold.
Hindsight being 20/20, I now know that I should have knocked on wood, touched gold, or performed some other superstitious ritual that would have prolonged this “happy new year.”
Approximately, around 9:15pm on January 16, 2009, as I played in my weekly recreational soccer match in my inaugural year in the “over-30” league, I was tripped (intentionally, if I may), heard 2 pops and a groan (the pops coming from my ankle and the groan from me as I came to the realization that I should have knocked on wood).
3 hours in the emergency room, 1 supportive teammate, and hundreds of 4-letter words later…
Good times. Needless to say, the phone call to break the news to Ever-Patient was a tough one…although, I did sense a hint of optimism when he said, “You’re f*cking kidding me, right?” Always the jokester.
Prognosis: 3rd degree ankle sprain. 6 weeks off the foot. Air cast. Plus an additional 4-6 weeks of rehab.
So… apart from the extreme inconvenience of having one working foot and no available hands to carry anything (including my 1 yr old), not being able to drive (although it is my left foot injured, I am unable to lift my children in their car seats or hold their hands in a parking lot), canceling a trip to Chicago, taking my life into my own hands as I maneuver my way through the ice and snow, life is good.
Sarcasm aside, during the first week, with my dad taking time off to help out, I felt pretty upbeat about the whole thing, immediately thinking that things could be worse and grateful for my supportive husband, family, and 4 amazing children. But by the second week, I was on my own and the whole hobbling-on-a-crutch thing had lost its novelty. I hate to admit it but this is around the time the “poor-me” pity party began.
Back to the karma conversation. Whenever, I start to feel sorry for myself I tend to look inward and over-analyze. I wondered, “What did I do in a past life?” Was this karmic reaction due to an accumulation of bad tips I had left or was it due to one huge selfish act…um, like the entirety of my teenage years? (Again, I’m really sorry Mom…and Ever-patient). Or is it more like a direct exchange of karmic actions? Did I trip someone (and deny it) at another sporting event causing total disruption in their lives? It’s possible this could have happened when I was a teenager and I don’t remember…yes, I was that self-absorbed. Was this going to happen no matter what saintly acts I committed or could my behaviour and current intentions alleviate some of the karmic aftermath of my past crimes?
In our house, there is not much room for 6 people, let alone a room full of “Why me?” and “Life sucks.” Life goes on and the kids still need the love and attention. I’ve had my 20 minutes of whining and now ask, “What do I need to learn from this so this karmic action does not return?” Channeling my inner-Oprah, I realized that just changing my perception of the whole incident, simply intending to see the good in all of this, it was no longer a question of punishment fitting a crime. It was now an opportunity for being happy with what I have. I’m no martyr and I know that there are millions of people in this world who are worse off, but we all have our moments when life seems to suck and we lose perspective. Looking at the big picture, there are many blessings to count:
I am grateful that this isn’t a serious injury. I am grateful that this happened after our trip to Orlando. I am grateful for family and friends who are willing to help with the kids, drop off food, or just send a note to ask, “What do you need?” I am grateful that this is giving our family the opportunity to save money since I am house-bound. I am grateful for being more mindful as I am forced to pay more attention to my every move. I am grateful for 3 wonderful children who amaze me every day with their independence, patience, and humour…and for the 1 who is too little to understand how to be patient but can nap on demand. And lastly, I am eternally grateful for the man I married – the Ever-Patient Optimist – who has not only taken over the a.m. routine, works all day, does the grocery shopping, prepares dinner, deals with bed and bath time, and works at night, but has humoured me through my crankiness and major bitch sessions…
…seriously, what did he do in a past life?
Only 4 more weeks my love.