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Periodically (more than I care fir) I have intrusive memories from my first job back in the early 90s about a nurse who did a lot of nasty and cruel things  – and she got away with it. My point is there was no justice; there was no comeuppance. So far as I know she ‘won’ viz. she got away with a lot- possibly including theft. She seemed to revel in her power, and she worked in cahoots with another to make my life miserable. Decades later, there was no lasting effect of these two women. All the same, she/they periodically pop into my mind as examples of ‘no justice; no karma’.  Life is full of these sorts.  I felt the past four years during the regime of The rotten orange was full up with folks who got away with proverbial murder. 

Recently a patient of mine was very angry at me for not calling her back on a matter. I apologized; I processed what went wrong; i worked on how to make a recurrence less likely. I could tell this did not appease. She was angry that it happened in the first place and she was not going to forgive. I sensed she was going to ‘get even’ by somehow hurting me, starting with not letting go of on her angry or accepting my apology. 

Children have a simple sense of justice: ‘bad people’ should be punished and ‘good people’ should be rewarded. Many folks never get over this childlike approach to justice, even when Life shows this is usually not the case. Speaking for myself when I am screwed over I want revenge. I want them to suffer as I have suffered. I want them to know, to feel, the same thing that I feel.  

Religions, philosophies, and therapies all reflect on the value of giving up puerile justice and working on the even more difficult task of forgiveness. I have to accept I cannot ‘get even’. I have to let go of the rancor that was Nurse Ratchett who will go to her grave probably with no remorse. 

I was recently reminded of a quotation by Marcus Aurelius: “The best revenge is to not be like that.”  This feels most unsatisfactory when there is a part of me that wants said nurse’s head on spike.  The better parts of my psyche know there is no pound of flesh that will make me feel good enough.  Only I can make myself feel OK enough, by focusing on gratitude and being good to others and by moving forward – even when a part of me does not want to move on. 

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