(I'll start this post with a big old disclaimer: I don't really believe in karma as a lot of folks seem to, if even at all. This isn't a post about what I believe, just speculating about some things I've seen.)
A few days ago there was a post on a forum I frequent that I've been mulling over a bit. A person had posted a public prayer of sorts, asking that karma make her rich so that her family would know they treat her badly.
Now, first of all, I'm not exactly sure that plan makes a lot of sense. If she gets rich, her family is just going to hound her for money, and if she doesn't give it to them they're just going to continue feeling justified in treating her like crap because she's selfish, or whatever... Not a problem money is going to fix - although it could at least get her out of the house, a good step in her own healing - money won't change someone else like that.
But beyond that, it brings me back to some confusion I have about karma as some see it. Isn't karma like.. always going? Doesn't karma affect what sort of family you're born into? Or your life situations? If you're in a shitty situation, isn't that supposed to be your karma playing out? How is it karma can be invoked to make her situation better, but at the same time a lot of these folks look at other people going through a hard time (deserved or not) and just sort of shrug it off as karma. If karma is bringing around bad stuff to some people, why is it not responsible for the bad stuff you're going through again? I've just seen a lot of cherry picking of what karma does or doesn't do, and it just seems odd to me.
Actually, this line of thinking almost strikes me as sort of viewing karma like luck, or fortune in a way, rather than some more cosmic force that's keeping everything in check.
I think I had an easier time of understanding karma when I studied it more directly as it's found in some schools of Hinduism, that great cosmic force of sorts... didn't really agree with it then, either, but at least it seemed more consistent? Who knows. I freely admit it's a concept within modern paganism I've always had a hard time wrapping my head around, and what people mean by it, which is a pain since it seems a lot of pagans do subscribe to the idea.