Sunday, November 11, 2012

Divine Intervention, Karma and Gingerbread Milkshakes

So it was another broke-ass Friday night where the bills got paid and the checking account was low.  Pay day seemed to be too far off in the distance and we had only about $120 to last us four days until Max got paid.   I decided to take the kids to Burger King to eat and our budget was $10 for the three of us which on the dollar menu was a variable feast.   I ordered the kid’s food and a veggie burger for me - the grand total was $10.56.   I gave the cashier $20.06 in cash to get $9.50 back.  The young male cashier was new and struggled with our order.  He gave me $10.56 back which was wrong.  I explained that he was giving me too much money back.  He then looked at the receipt then gave me another dollar, clearly not understanding what I was saying which was frustrating.   For a nano-second I thought that it would be easier to just take the money since I had tried to correct the situation twice.   Then, I got a tight feeling in my chest (no, not from the idea of eating Burger King) and realized that if I took the money, my Karma would suck and I would feel horrible.  Nothing good would come from using that money and it was just wrong.  So I looked at the receipt and realized that he had rung up $22.12 instead of $20.06 and I told him to just give me $9.50 so his drawer would not be short.   Almost immediately after I did that, the manager who did not observe the transaction asked me if I wanted a gingerbread milkshake because they had made an extra one. 
Now most people would see that as a coincidence and that it was nothing more than a free milkshake.  But for me, it was a small reminder that doing the right thing sometimes had its rewards – not feeling like crap because your conscience is nagging at you and every now and then you get free milkshakes.  I get reminded of that frequently when the world seems like it’s going to hell in a hand basket and fighting the good fight doesn’t seem worth it - but for me, not doing the right thing feels so wrong. I get a sick feeling in the pit of my soul and nothing feels settled.  I guess doing the right thing is more about feeling good about yourself rather than in it for yourself.  It can be hard to see that when you see other people getting ahead doing underhanded things.  But trust me, it will eventually catch up to them because sustaining lies and stepping all over people takes so much negative energy that you can never relax.  It drains you and you’re always looking over your shoulder wondering if they will strike back.  Eventually they will because the wheel of karma turns that way.  You can only piss on so many people for so long before they get tired of it, clean themselves off and put an end to it.
I remember working with a young woman who decided that she was going to undermine me every chance she got.  I was her supervisor but that didn’t matter, she had it out for me for whatever reason (it might have been that she was a “good conservative Christian” and was not happy with my politics or stand on gay rights – it wasn’t really anything we discussed but she might have noticed the Women for Obama magnet on my car in 2008 and the fact that I was happy when he was elected).  She would run me down to the consultants and new boss at the company.  I retaliated by asking her to talk to me directly if she had an issue so we could resolve it together.  I also did mean things like give her the time off that she requested and gave her positive feedback when she did a good job – so it was easy to understand why she had such an attitude against me.  I came to realize that no matter what I did, this woman would not change her opinion of me or the need to hurt me professionally no matter what I did.  She would eves drop on my conversations since we worked in cubicles next to each other and would report what she thought she heard to the powers that be.   What she didn’t realize was that I was trying to teach her a lesson about spying - what she thought she heard was a certain amount of misinformation when I was on the phone to Max.  When I was asked about the information this young woman had related, I asked how she got that it since I had never spoken to her directly about the subject in question which never happened.  It became obvious that she was spying and the first time should have been the last time, but she did it two more times before it sunk in that she needed to stop trying to overhear because her credibility was steadily declining.  She eventually took a job at her church with like minded people.  I’m sure they are all having a wonderful time judging each other.
Her new replacement was a wonderful woman who I thoroughly enjoyed working with.  There were no agendas and it was nice to be around someone who just wanted to do their job and make their fellow employees feel good at the same time.  I had a great time working with her and it was not lost on me that for all the struggles I had with her predecessor, I had this new person who I genuinely looked forward to working with each day and who had nothing but good things to say about me to the higher ups.  The Karmic wheel turned in my favor. 
Of course there are times when the Karmic wheel can feel like it’s running you over.   In November of last year, I lost my job, our beautiful cat Skittles died and the 1993 Camry that my mother had given us after my father passed finally gave out.  We were down to one car – a 1998 Honda Civic which could go out at anytime and then what would we do?   I felt like I was handling the job loss and grieving for my furry friend but when the car died after we had put $1,300 in repairs that we couldn’t afford into it, hope started to drain out of my body.   I remember driving home with Max after we had gotten the final word that the car was unfixable and just sat there sobbing.  I tried to get it together for the sake of the kids when we got home but they knew something was up because my face is not generally red, splotchy and damp.  I tried to play it off the best I could, but they sensed my anxiety.  I went up our room while Max made dinner and cried some more into my pillow so the kids wouldn’t hear.   
I felt like my guardian angels had forsaken me and all those “angel codes” I had been looking for meant nothing.  When I was going through a really tough time at my last job, I found a book called “Healing with Angels” by Doreen Virtue, PhD which helped pull me out of a really bad funk and got me focused on my spirituality again.   In this book, Dr. Virtue suggests that angels communicate to us through numbers thorough out the day and if you are tuned to seeing them, you can read what your angels are trying to tell you.  For instance, if you frequently see the numbers 555 in a street address, or a $5.55 shopping receipt or you look up at a clock just as it’s 5:55 p.m., or in a license plate it means that a major life change is about to take place.  I was getting that code for months and my reaction was “Duh, tell me something I don’t know.  I’m one of the legions of the jobless.  Please let me get a job so I can feel like a real person again.”  Then I would feel bad for insulting a group of celestial beings that were trying to help me but doing it on heaven time which probably moves a bit slower than human time.  I would also get 222 which means keep nurturing the ideas that are growing into reality which I interpreted as my job search would yield fruit and soon (click here to seeangel codes if you would like to review them yourself).   So I was seeing those codes all the time and thinking my life would change for the good any minute.   I refused to quit “five minutes before the miracle happened,” but damn, five minutes on an angel’s clock must take a lot longer than Eastern Standard Time.  
After three months when I actually had to go on unemployment after my severance ran out, I kept thinking “Now, it’s got to happen now!”   Then week after week and no job offers, just phone interviews, personal interviews and rejection letters and e-mails.  I began to wonder what I had done to skew my Karma so badly.   So when I got a call from a friend about my current job at a charity that works with individuals with developmental disabilities I sent in a resume but not with much enthusiasm because it felt like was just another dead end.  But as I saw both the angel codes 222 and 555 frequently, I wondered if this time was it.  I prayed the night before the interview for a sign and when I arrived, I got it – a painting in my perspective boss’ office which had six dancing angels.  I knew that this was the place for me and that my angels had come through and for once this job interview felt right.
It’s not lost on me that the angels helped me find this job and that I had to go through what I did to get where I am now.  I’m more tolerant of other people who are struggling because I’ve been there – done that and know what it feels like. The place where I work is well protected by angels since it’s just down the road from both an adult and juvenile corrections facility.  I can sense them keeping an eye on things and helping me out when just when I think things are not going to come together.  They’ve made sure that the two events at this new job have happened even if the help seemed to come later than I would have wanted it.   Again, the skeptics might just say, its luck or coincidence, but I truly believe that it’s more, it’s Karma.  
When I needed inspiration to do a video for work, the song “Thank you for Being a Friend” popped into my head and it was perfect.  When I needed photos for the project, I found them easily even though I had to search through hundreds of photos.   When I stressed about getting the video together in time, it happened way faster than I would have thought because the angels were guiding me to get it done.   When the video was played at the event, it got applause and folks told me that it was great and needed to be where everyone could see it.  (click here to watch the video) So I put it in on YouTube and now our donors, volunteers and supporters can click in and watch it anytime they want.  It flowed easily because it was supposed to and going with the flow is something I’ve had to learn the hard way but when I do, it works really, really well. 
The lessons you need to learn, you learn whether you like them or not.   There have been times when I didn’t listen to that little voice – when I thought I knew better but didn’t listen to my subconscious and ended up paying for it.  For instance, when I didn’t get out of a bad relationship or speaking up to help myself or others, I got a celestial bitch slap and it hurt.  Karma pays you back for your inaction and hopefully you learn because it will keep happening until you do. 
As for karmic justice for those who have wronged me, my approach is always, “Leave it to Heaven.”  Those who have hurt me will eventually feel the sting themselves and more often than not, I don’t have to do a thing because they will eventually do it to themselves.  They’ll cross the wrong person, make a bad choice or flat out implode.  Just give them enough rope to hang themselves and you’ll start to see the noose close in.  It might not happen as soon as you would like it to (did I mention that angels, especially avenging ones run on a different timetable?) but it will happen because the truth will out.
As for my experience at Burger King, that little act of doing the right thing when no one was looking is what character is all about.  If I can’t be an example for my kids, they won’t learn it for themselves.  As I relayed the story to the kids while we ate dinner and were sharing the gingerbread shake, Daniel made a very astute observation.  “Mom, you know the thing I like best about good Karma?  Sometimes it’s just plain delicious!”

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