Sometimes you have to cash in on the goodwill of others. Because no one can get it right all the time. Sure, you try to, but mistakes happen. When they do, that little bit of unearned generosity and sacrifice can make a world of difference.
The concept of karma is so elementary, even children — as selfish as they are by nature — can comprehend it’s fundamentality. Do good things and good things will come your way. Simple.
But, it’s not that simple. Everyone is nice. “Nice” is easy. Don’t be a dick. Done. The bar is literally so low that if you can manage to just be cool, you’re perceived of as “nice.” But “nice” isn’t enough. Just like “happy” wants to be “joy,” “nice” wishes it were “good.” Because “good” is the part that makes change. “Nice” is welcome, obviously, but “good” can actually have an impact.
As much as I want to believe in karma, deep down I know it’s a false premise. Good things happen to bad people all the time. Surely, if you make enough selfish decisions, eventually it will come back to burn you. And the human conscience can be a powerful force against your own mental well-being. But the universe just doesn’t seem to have the energy to actively work against malice. She must be too busy.
Even with this sad realization, I can’t help but to be somehow stirred towards working for betterment, especially on an individual level. “It doesn’t really matter.” Well, it did to this one. And how far will those ripples reach?
The make of a man doesn’t hinge on one particular event — good or bad. We all fuck up. Okay, fine. Then what happens next?
“Brian, you don’t mess up often, but, man, when you do it’s of spectacular proportions.”
A throwaway thought from a friend, but one that I can’t seem to shake. Because it rings true. Too bad my grave maker is so small. No other sentiment would make a more apropo engraving.
What happens next for me is to try to find ways to make things better. To right the balance. How much? How many? How long? What is enough? It’s a fool’s errand and I’m well aware of this. I know full-well that redemption doesn’t work like that. Equally, I remain enslaved to my sentence. So, I do good. Or, at least, I try to.
Today I haven’t necessarily been doing good. But, I have been doing. It’s been a long, tiring, yet fulfilling few days. Planning and preparing for an event that has passed just hours ago. Our state of contentment, mine and my wife’s, is ideal for a walk in the woods.
Back a trodden path to a favorite campsite we walk hand-in-hand, replaying the day’s events while our youngest dog skampers through the trees, leaping moss-covered logs and sprinting to and fro. This is a place of peacefulness and serenity.