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As a Man Soweth

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When I was in junior high, the eighth-grade bully punched me in the stomach. Not only did it hurt and make me angry, but the embarrassment and humiliation were almost intolerable. I wanted desperately to even the score! I planned to meet him by the bike racks the next day and let him have it.

For some reason, I told my plan to Nana, my grandmother -- big mistake. She gave me one of her hour-long lectures (that woman could really talk). The lecture was a total drag, but among other things, I vaguely remember her telling me that I didn’t need to worry about him. She said, “Good deeds beget good results, and evil deeds beget bad results.” I told her, in a nice way, of course, that I thought she was full of it. I told her that I did good things all the time, and all I got in return was “baloney!” (I didn’t use that word.) She stuck to her guns, though. She said, “Every good deed will come back to you someday, and every bad thing you do will also come back to you.”

It took me 30 years to understand the wisdom of her words. Nana was living in a board-and-care home in Laguna Hills, California. Each Tuesday, I came by and took her out to dinner. I would always find her neatly dressed and sitting in a chair right by the front door. I vividly remember our very last dinner together before she went into the convalescent hospital. We drove to a nearby simple little family-owned restaurant. I ordered pot roast for Nana and a hamburger for myself. The food arrived and as I dug in, I noticed that Nana wasn’t eating. She was just staring at the food on her plate. Moving my plate aside, I took Nana’s plate, placed it in front of me, and cut her meat into small pieces. I then placed the plate back in front of her. As she very weakly, and with great difficulty, forked the meat into her mouth, I was struck with a memory that brought instant tears to my eyes. Forty years previously, as a little boy sitting at the table. Nana had always taken the meat on my plate and cut it into small pieces so I could eat it.

It had taken 40 years, but the good deed had been repaid. Nana was right. We reap exactly what we sow. “Every good deed you do will someday come back to you.”

What about the eighth-grade bully?

He ran into the ninth-grade bully.


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