Five years ago I had my last seizure. As much as I’d love to, and may yet, write a book about what led to my having seizures, and why I don’t have them anymore, that’s not my point today. Today is kind of like Memorial Day for me. I both celebrate that anniversary, and remind myself of the losses of that time of my life. It’s important not to forget, lest history might repeat itself. It’s also in the past, and best left there.
A long time ago, a friend posted one of those motivational posters that said, “Karma: You get back what you give out.” Or something like that. I like that, but it’s not really that simple. It’s not magical, or some mystical force that gets payback for you when people wrong you, or rewards you when you do good things for others. It’s the way of things. If you make sound choices about the people around you, and base your relationships on trust and respect, you’ll have a life filled with the rewards of those philosophies. You’re still in for some bumps here and there. But it stands to reason that if you make sound choices about life and people, your life will be a product of those choices. Conversely, if you choose to fill your life with people who lie, cheat and steal, and congratulate and help you when you do, well, your life will be filled with all the things that come bundled with those choices. But it’s all a matter of choice. Not some chick named ‘Karma’ out for vengeance. As much as I’d love to think she exists, because she’d be into me for a whole lotta ‘Large’. But that’s now how it works.
With all that said, I’m still going to talk about Karma like she’s an old friend. Because she is. She’s very busy keeping balance in all of the universe. Droughts that need rain, and floods that need dried. Famine to feast and feasts to famine. Mountains to erode with the sands of time, and oceans to fill with dust. She still keeps up with the small things though… if you get too little sleep tonight, she’ll catch up with you and make you tired earlier in the evening tomorrow so you go to bed early. If you get drunk and beat your kids, she’ll taint their hearts with just enough strength each time you do so to prepare them for the day they can get away from you, yet not enough to make them hate you. As much as I disagree with her on that issue. If you take a man’s wallet and leave him for dead, she may breathe life back into him after you walk away so he can warn others about you. Yet it’s all your choice. Karma is just a mirror for your conscious decisions.
Sometimes Karma gets behind with her work, and has to make drastic changes asap. A fault line that requires an earthquake, or a volcano that requires an eruption. Tyrannical rulers that need overthrown and cancers that need cured. A 30-something man who won’t give up the fight to save his poorly chosen marriage, in spite of that fight literally killing him. Tyrannical rulers don’t even know what’s good for themselves, let alone those they’re trying to rule. Sometimes ordinary people don’t know what’s good for them either. I was so hell bent on saving the family that I couldn’t see how bad the marriage was for my children. Karma straightened me out. My children and I are a family now that we could never have dreamed of being had I managed to save the marriage. And Karma has played her aces on those who fought to destroy that marriage. Tenfold. I didn’t ask her to do that. Remember, she’s just a mirror.
My kids think of me when they see a beautiful sunset. They know my favorite sunset spots, and because I’ve shown them so many sunsets, they look at the sky when the sun meets the horizon, wherever they are. Sophie said to me when she called to say G’Night from her other home recently, “I knew you’d take pictures of that beautiful sunset, Daddy!” And I had. And she was happy that she knew I had. And I was happy that she thought of me when she saw such beauty. Ezra recently called me “Dad come quick!” from his room and I found him next to his window with it open. “I knew you’d want to see this sunset!” We don’t have a clear view of the sunset from our home, but on that night the bright colors were shining sharply through the fresh green buds on the trees across the street. He knew the urgency because he’s watched enough sunsets with me to know that the best part of the show lasts only a few seconds. This is just one example, but my favorite. I would have never been able to cultivate this amazing relationship with my children if I were still pouring all my strength into a doomed marriage. As much as I still believe that trying to save a marriage is the right thing to do… at the same time, there’s a point at which even a proud man should surrender. Just shy of it killing you is that point, just in case you aren’t there yet. Not everyone gets to come back. I’m just a very good negotiator. And a bit of a badass.
So on April 11th, I will now and always both celebrate the ‘Hawaiian Islands’ that our lives have become in the aftermath of what I could easily liken to a volcanic eruption, and I also do dwell just long enough to not let myself forget what I went through because I wasn’t listening to Karma. She tried and tried to tell me kindly for years, and she finally got sick of that and just plain damn beat me to death. So be it. She’s just a mirror. They were my choices.
And ever since April 11th, 2007, the primary reason I’ve written just about everything I’ve written is so that my kids will have these stories to look back on, and pass on, long after I’m gone. So, all the bullshit and admittedly unbelievable truths about all that aside, there are two reasons I’m still here. And I will not ever forget them.
1) My 6 year old son screaming, “Get UP Dad, Get UP!!!” and trying to lift me up off the floor with all the might his 40-or-so pounds could muster.
2) My 3 year old daughter standing behind him in the doorway, the windows to her soul welled up with tears, too scared to come closer but too strong to run away.
That day, we all aged in ways that time can’t measure. That 6 year old boy is a fine young man now, and that 3 year old little girl’s soul has proven to be more timeless than Karma herself. No man’s arms have ever been stronger than yours were that day, Buddy, no man’s voice ever louder. Baby Girl, no eyes have ever given a man more strength than your eyes gave me that day. These are the things I think of when life is kicking my ass, and they are what keep me getting back UP. Not just on that day, but every single day since, and every day to come. Always. I won’t forget. The two of you make me want to better myself, and to live long enough to see my Grandbabies overflow with strength and kindness just like your eyes and hearts do. And most importantly, you’re what made me value each and every day I’m here, in the here and now. I Love You two more than all the words I’ve ever written could ever convey.
Cheers from The ThreeFiveZero Karmastrophic Islands