Earl, Karma, and Mother Theresa

My Name is Earl has to be one of my favorite tv shows. Not only is it hilarious, it has a good message as well.

Earl, the main character, has done a lot of bad things in his life. After winning money on  a lottery scratch-off, he gets hit by a car. Somewhere in that scenario, he decides to make his “Karma List”. He’s listed all the bad things he’s done to people and sets out to make them right, improving his karma as well.

I believe in karma. I believe you get what you give. What goes around does tend to come back around. Good or bad.

I always try to do the right thing. I can’t say that I do, that would make me perfect and perfect is one thing that I’m definitely not.

If you give kindness and compassion, you get kindness and compassion in return. If you give hatred and impatience, you get hatred and impatience in return. You probably won’t have many friends either.

Another thing that Earl talks about is how good he feels after crossing something off his list. He enjoys making other people feel better.  How many of us try to do something on a regular basis just to make someone feel better?

A few months ago I read a quote by Mother Theresa. She said, “In this life we cannot do great things, we can only do small things with great love.” After I read that, I tried to start doing weekly “Small Things”  One week, I bought enough food for a meal for one needy family and put it in our grocery store’s food bank box.  And it made me feel good. I’m so blessed to always have enough to have food on my table.  Not everyone is. Especially not these days with this economy the way it is.

I did it again this morning when I bought my weekly groceries. I bought enough food to give a needy family a meal. And again, it made me feel good.

It made me stop and think. Maybe karma is more than being nice to people or trying to always do the right thing. Maybe it’s also going out of your way to do something for someone else. Just like Earl does. It’s not easy for him to make amends to everyone on his list.

And it’s not always convenient or easy to do something for someone else. But it is worth it.  So, I’m challenging myself to keep trying to do something for someone else. Something that may make life just a little easier for someone else.

After all, we’re all fighting the same battle.


I’m out!

Small Things

I’m not a Michael Jackson fan, I have to confess.  Haven’t been for years. He simply became too eccentric for me. But, in the days since his passing, I’ve listened to the radio stations play music from him that I haven’t heard in years. I’ve heard “Beat It”, “Thriller”, “Billie Jean”.  And my favorite, “The Man in the Mirror”.

That’s probably the first time I’ve heard it in my thirties.  When I heard it as an adult, I thought of how true this song is.  How many times do we see a homeless person and just walk on by, caught up in our own lives and our own problems?”

I’ll be the first to confess that I am guilty of this.  I’ll see a homeless person, think, “What a shame” and go on about my merry way, thinking of groceries that need to be bought, bills that need to be paid.  And it doesn’t strike me as ironic that these “problems” that I’m so caught up in and stressed about are problems that this person I just passed would love to have?

Not only do I not stop enough to count my blessings, I haven’t done anything in years to make a positive change in the area around me.  Yes, I teach, and that probably makes a small impact, but when was the last time I volunteered in a food kitchen, gave to a homeless shelter, or other worthwhile cause? Or really did something to make someone else feel better?

I think we get caught up in our own lives and think things should be changed, but we always expect someone else to do it.  We think that’s someone else’s job.  But really, Michael’s right.  It starts with the Man (or Woman) in the Mirror.

It starts with us.

Mother Theresa said, “We cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great love.” 

So, I’m committing myself to do one small thing a week this month. What small things?  I’m not sure yet.  I may buy a few extra groceries and throw them in the Food Bank donation box on my way out.  I may check off that “Share the Light” box on my utility bill and help out someone who can’t afford their light bill this month.  Or I was watching the morning news last week and the council for the elderly needed box fans to help keep our elderly cool.  Or I may just do all three.

All small things. 

And I’m challenging you to do the same.  Do one, two, three, four, or however many small things.  Forward this blog, challenge a friend.  And tell us your stories.  What small thing did you do?


I’m out!