Mama doesn't care for the notion of karma.
I, on the other hand, love karma - when it works in my favor. As long as she's not biting my tater, karma can be wonderful.
Mama tells me that is not the way I need to be.
Of course, I disagree with her. That's my duty as a daughter - I am supposed to disagree with the one who birthed me.
I recounted my frustrations to her on the phone one afternoon, telling her the improprieties and transgressions that I felt were insidious beyond reproach. Mama listened gently, offering her suggestions of why maybe someone had committed said offense, playing devil's advocate for the guilty.
I announced I was done with said transgressors. I said a few other choice words that Mama swears she never taught me.
"Kitten, I don't think it's wise to burn any bridge," was Mama's gentle advice on the matter.
"Mama, you have always said I was like Granny. You know what Granny would say? She would say make sure they were in the middle of the cussed bridge before you set fire to both ends."
Mama had no reply for that. It was a Granny truism.
"Well, I think it is wrong to want to see people get that come uppance, Kitten. That is your karma if you do. Even the Bible tells us we won't see what befalls our enemies or when but God's judgment never fails. It is not your place to sit around waiting for bad to fall on someone in the meantime. You know better."
In a lot of ways, Mama's right. I didn't tell her that fact, and hope you won't tell her either. But I know I shouldn't want to see the wrongs righted, my personal perpetrators shamed and under fire for their injustices. Am I the only one who remembers their raisin'?
Granted, the offenses had not broken any laws other than social ones, and given the lack of social decorum in many ways, a few of the people were probably innocent by way of ignorance.
"I think you may get frustrated when people don't handle situations the way you would or do things in the way you would - you have always been quite aware of those social rules that should be followed, much like Granny, and remember when someone has slighted you regarding them."
"So what are you saying, Mama?" I asked.
"I am saying you are going to have to let some of that go," was her simple reply.
But I can't. I am trying, but it's hard. I ruminate on these discretions sometimes and then wonder why karma hasn't infested some people with fleas in their nether regions.
"Stop that," Mama will caution.
"You don't want karma coming after you."
No, I don't. However, I also think I try to weigh my actions beforehand.
I get tired of being the one who takes that proverbial higher road Mama always talked about; I have had plenty of instances where undeserved karma -or maybe something else, bovine waste perhaps? - was delivered to my doorstep and I had to deal with it.
I think I am a halfway good person most of the time. I follow that "do unto others" and turn the other cheek. I do all those things I was taught to do, both from Mama and Granny and sometimes, the reward is less than pleasant. If anything, it makes me wonder how that well worn road is, the one that didn't make all the dingdang difference but gave an easier albeit wickeder path.
I expressed all this to Mama, tired of being the "good" person all the time.
Forget Glinda the good witch; I wanted to be Elphaba, the rightful heir to the ruby red slippers.
"So why do I have to be the good one, Mama, and what difference does it make, if karma doesn't come back and right the wrongs like she should?"
Mama was quiet. I thought maybe her phone had died or maybe in the midst of my diatribe she had put the phone down and went to make some coffee. She was there though, listening.
"I don't know, Kitten," she finally began. "But I do know this: One day, we all will have to answer for what we've done, good and bad. These people you're telling me about, they may not be able to sleep at night. You do. And they have to live with themselves too. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing or what karma's got lined up for them. You just keep focusing on doing what you know you are supposed to do."
"But why, Mama? I don't get it." I whined, I admit it. It was a pure, unadulterated juvenile whine.
"Because," Mama began. "Their karma or whatever penance, punishment, etcetera, is really none of your business."
May not have been the answer I wanted, or what I wanted to hear, but Mama, as usual, spoke the absolute truth.
Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist.