Karma policeInstead of "Karma Police," sometimes I feel like the title of Radiohead's song should be "Karma Disease."
I've given all I can
It's not enough
I've given all I can
But we're still on the payroll
Okay, my lame attempt at a twist on a song title was just because it kinda sorta almost rhymed with the original. Please don't judge too harshly.
There is something behind my failure of rhyming words, however, that is worth talking about.
And it does involve karma. And it does involve disease.
For what seems like the past few years now, with my ongoing illness, there has been a conversation that often repeats itself between my father and me.
My dad likes to ask, "Why are all the bad people rich?"
or more frequently, "Why do all the best people I know have the worst luck?"
His biggest question for me, however, has been, "Why do good people get sick?"
If we're supposed to be born equal, he wonders aloud, then how is any of what happens to us fair?
I can't answer that for him. All I know is that life isn't fair. The idea that we are born equal is only true to an extent, and really only in a religious point of view.
So what's the deal? Is the world just one big roll of the dice to see how your luck plays out? Is it actually karma?
I don't think so. Especially not when it comes to the topic my father refers to over and over again--my illness.
When someone has an illness, others who dislike them may often have something nasty to say behind their back. I've had the joyful experience to hear from others that I "offended God" (yes, those exact words) or that this was my way of paying for my bad deeds--karma, of course.
Steam would blow out of my ears when hearing something like this, and I almost choked on anger when hearing a similar experience from a sick friend.
But something I couldn't even prepare myself for was that at times, I started believing those people and the words they said.
I stopped praying for a while. If I had incurred the wrath of God, so be it. Fight fire with fire. Or...fight fire with silence?
I had a nightmare of a time where only my bed could console me, I was so depressed--partly from the illness itself, partly from no support of others. I didn't have any idea as to what I had done in my life to deserve this. I mean, I wasn't even into my 20's. Did I give someone the stink-eye at Wal-Mart once only to have them curse me a slow, dismal death?
WHAT DID I DO?
There isn't a person I haven't met with some kind of illness--whether it be diabetes, a thyroid problem, or even Lyme disease--that hasn't asked that same question. We may never find the answer we're looking for, but I promise it's never anything you did because you are not a bad person who ever did anything worth being ill.
I have heard people--like motivational speakers--say things like, "God gave me ____ so I can teach others the meaning of life" or something to that effect. I hated those people. Now I just feel iffy towards them. God GAVE you a torturous, life-altering, perhaps FATAL disease in order to teach OTHERS something? Well now, when you put it that way...
No. But maybe it helps them sort out the reasons for that big question of "what did I do?"
I may sound just as crazy when I say this, so feel free to write me off as well, but I do think the people who are dealt the hand of suffering come out stronger. I haven't reached "the other side" (that being recovery) yet, but when I do, I imagine it'll be like discovering I have superpowers or that I'm one of the X-Men with a strength no one but those who have went through what I have can say they yield.
Do I think I was "given" this disease? No more than people are given moles, freckles, or dimples.
Has it taught me anything? Lessons upon lessons! How to be patient, why I should be grateful for every little thing, and to have a sense of humor! (Thanks Dad for passing that trait down.)
I don't think I've been handing out the meaning of life like chocolates anytime recently, but I try to raise awareness about my disease as well as other chronic illnesses when I can, and Lyme disease has definitely changed how my family interacts with each other. For the better.
I will probably never be able to give my dad the answers he wants.
Life isn't fair, and that's OK. We all have our problems. We compare and we judge, and that's human nature.
But what I ask is that, if you're sick, you don't blame yourself. And if someone else is sick, you don't blame them.
Instead of shaming someone for an incident that recently took place in their life, how about your bring them a gift basket or send them a handmade card. Bake them cookies or bring them some flowers. You offer to take them out for some drinks or bring them a drink (mmm, hot chocolate!). Simply lend them an ear.
But what you don't do is bring them and yourself down.
The world is vulgar enough as it is. Let some sunshine in.