The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DayPosted: November 4, 2013
It happened last week.
The day was book-ended by fusses with Michael. The night before Stella was up for an hour and then it took me (Michael, too–wonder why we were crabby the next morning?) another hour to fall asleep. It was yet another grey and smog-filled day in a long line of grey and smog-filled days. I lost my subway card. Stella and I schlepped in the rain to the center of the city, an hour and a half away, for a meeting, which is when the real climactic moment happened: while I was trying to balance an umbrella, a baby, and a bulky diaper bag, some jerk stole my iPhone.
Here’s the thing: I say I don’t believe in karma….but I act like I do. My first thought was: Seriously, God? I just came all this way with my baby to meet with a lady and talk about what we can do to help orphans, for heaven’s sake, and this is my reward? Ugh. Cue anger, sulking, and a sizable side dose of self-beration. (I knew it was stupid to put my phone in my coat pocket but Stella was half-asleep/half-crying and I was just going 20 yards in between buildings.) I act like I deserve good things, I am shocked and self-righteous when bad stuff happens to me… but really, deep down (sometimes not very deep), I’m selfish and self-centered.
Days like this, like that, it’s hard for me to love this place, hard for me to love this people. Some days, the good ones, I look at the crowd milling about the square and feel compassion for them, feel overwhelmed by love and their deep need. But that day, as I rode a glass-fronted elevator up above the square after being pick-pocketed, all I could think was, which of those idiots down there took my phone? (Did I mention I was carrying a baby in the rain? You should feel sorry for me–I certainly felt sorry for myself.)
That afternoon, I met with some friends. We talked, they commiserated with me over the lost phone, we grumbled about how people are sometimes the worst. BUT THEN. One of my friends prayed: for me and my crappy day, but also for the person who took my phone. What the what? It never would have crossed my mind to pray for the thief. But that’s what it’s all about. Not about karma, about doing good deeds and reaping good results as a reward, but about loving and caring for others even when they don’t deserve it.
Especially when they don’t deserve it. Because that’s the principle that has been applied to me.
I’m thankful that’s the grace I live under.