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Karma or dumb luck?

POSTED August 4, 2009 10:37 p.m.
I have an older brother in the Boston area who I don’t see very often. He has a sick wife who was hospitalized for some time because of two failed kidneys. He took days off from work during that time, wanting to be by her side.
She’s back at home, but family members say she’s so physically and mentally weak that she sometimes forgets she has a husband and kids.
The family is in debt. Hospital bills, credit card bills. Last week, however, my older brother walked into a gas station in his hometown and left with $1 million. He won the money from a $10 lottery ticket.
His life has changed, of course. He no longer has to worry about his debts. He can spend money on food and not worry about it later. He’s a little happier, but he’s not completely happy.
This is the type of story you see in the movies or read in a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book. It’s filled with heartbreak and happiness. And I’m completely happy for him and his family. There’s no one else that deserves the money more than he does — at least in my eyes.
Is this karma? What kind of person was he in a past life? Did the universe shift in his favor? Is all this just a coincidence? Is this a case of an unlucky guy getting really lucky? (And why was a man in financial trouble gambling away $10 for a nearly impossible outcome?)
We all have wondered that. In our household, the best explanation is that good things happen to good people. But I don’t like to look at the situation in that way. No one’s perfect. And I’m sure there are plenty of folks on the planet who have done good things but have never been rewarded so generously.
And I’m not going against my family’s belief. I do believe in karma. I do believe in reincarnation. I do believe good things should happen to good people. But my problem here is that the money doesn’t make up for what my older brother and his wife and their kids are going through. This is not a fair trade. This is not the ideal deal.
But it helps ease some pain, mostly financial ones.
If it was possible, of course, my brother would trade all the money for a healthier wife. And he wouldn’t mind going back to his old life, working tirelessly and living happily. But we all know we can’t always get what we want.
It’s sad to say that having a lot of money helps. It isn’t the perfect solution, but good things can come out of this. He hasn’t seen us in years, not since he came with our grandma to let us take care of her in her final years. He phoned us last week, saying that he’s relieved he has the money. He talked about buying my parents a brand new car, though they don’t need one.
But what really stood out is that he wants to come visit.
It’s been a long time coming.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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