Karma. Defined by the Oxford-American Dictionary as “In Hinduism and Buddhism, the sum of a person’s actions in this life and previous lives, viewed as affecting their fate in this or future existences.”
American slang for “What you give out comes back to you,” a modern version of my grandmother’s homespun truism, “What comes around, goes around.”
Some Christians dislike the word “karma” because… well, I don’t know why. It’s just a word. I suppose because it’s not of Christian origin.
Recent phone chat with my ailing 84-year-old mother…
Me: “She’s not listening to us. Not hearing one thing we say…” (cue a weary sigh…)
Mom: “No 22-year old does. They think they know everything. It’s always that way. Always.”
Me: “I guess… ”
Mom: “When you were 22, you wouldn’t listen to a thing I said. Lord, you were so hardheaded! Don’t you remember? I DO… ”
Me: “This is hard. The worrying is hard. (pause) Did you worry about me?”
Mom: “Of course we worried about you. Parents worry. Yes, it hurts. It really does. It was terrible. But your hands are tied. There’s nothing you can do about this. Nothing.”
Me: “I suppose…”
Mom: “You have to let her go. You have no choice. She’s 22-years-old.”
Later that same day, brief words with the 22-year-old:
Me: “My mother says that I was hardheaded when 22-years-old. Wouldn’t listen to a thing she said. She’s right. I didn’t. Thought I knew better… that she hadn’t a clue.”
22-year-old: (with a quiet laugh of relief) “I guess you and I are too much alike then…”
Karma. Mother-daughter karma.
Dearly hoping I, too, live long enough to hear her ask if I worried about her, and if it hurt. As she deeply worries about her own 22-year-old daughter.