Kid brother dishes out karma


Image: Issak Ghering and John Ghering

Catholics don’t believe in karma. At least not in the way the Western world has adapted it.

The only “karma” we profess is the actions on earth that will determine where you spend eternity. Harsh, I know. But I think God has his own sense of humor and sends us karma every now and then, if not coincidences.

Right before Thanksgiving break, I retold the story about my 13-year-old brother and his unhealthy obsession with player-designed basketball shoes. My anthropology class was part of the unfortunate audience who had to listen to me complain about my kid brother who doesn’t have the same 22-year-old appreciation for our parents I do.

I’ve always been tough on Isaak. He’s the oldest boy in our family, and I thought we’d be great friends growing up. I wasn’t right to assume that, but I knew he was going to do great things.

I wasn’t sure what that was when he was born, and I really started to question that prediction when he fractured his leg as a toddler from jumping off the couch in some 2-year-old act of obstinacy, but I still haven’t taken it back.

He is smart and stubborn, which can be very useful traits when applied in a positive way.

I’m not saying I am apologetic now, but I definitely was hit with some gossip karma over the weekend.

Isaak asked me to read his essay on the three people that inspired him the first night I was home, and I got the second-place spot after our dad.

While some of the description came from my brother scrambling to finish the assignment and filling in space, like his claims I correct his papers via email, some of it was genuine. I didn’t know what to say.

The last time I remember consciously “setting an example” was the second grade, when our teacher would tell us to be quiet in the school halls.

In her defense, “setting a good example” is much better motivation for kids to behave than “not getting in trouble.” It worked for me at least. Until I moved up to third grade.

OK, maybe it hasn’t been that long, but I really didn’t expect the brother who gets hell from me to put me in a stinking graded essay.

My stomach was a little twisted when I handed Isaak back his laptop and told him he did a good job. I asked him some questions about his sections on our mom and dad for good measure, though.

He wrote something about my dad telling “bad stories,” which I assumed meant something about his old “war” stories from the State Police. He also said he “always” wanted to be a pharmacist like our mom, which I found hard to believe.

The part that really stuck with me were his thoughts on me going to college and “not being afraid” to live in Erie. After freshman year, I never thought of school as anything admirable. I was just trying to keep my GPA afloat.

But the sentence that really made the essay read like karma was about my fiancé and me. Isaak said I would never give up in my relationship, and if a 13-year-old can see that, I know Jason and I can make it through the next six months.

And maybe I’ll ease up on Isaak by then, too.


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