Church-y stuff. Three times a week.
In addition to all of this organized religion, I also attended a private Christian school through 9th grade. The entire junior high at this school in my 9th grade year was 81 kids... the largest number they had seen since the school began. One of our required classes was a Bible class, every year, every day, five days a week.
LOTS of Jesus in my formative years.
One of the interesting by-products in being raised in this environment was a lack of conversation about all things "worldly". As an almost-thirty-eight-year-old grown-ass female, I am not sure even now if I can describe what those things were, but I certainly have it ingrained in my head, even today. I think it's something like this...
Sex. Secular music. Disobedient and disrespectful children. Law-breaking. Drugs. Alcohol. Failing at school. Other religious viewpoints and beliefs. Not fitting in the mold. Not doing as you're told.
My sister and I used to play a game when I was in high school (and we were both at public school for the first time) at the dinner table. It was loosely called, "Who Can Make Mom Leave the Table First". The rules were simple: the stories you told had to be true, and they had to be outrageous. We would relate a narrative of something that had happened at school that day or that week, attempting to use friends' names that Mom actually knew or knew of, and would fall over with laughter when we would make her so uncomfortable with Real Life Talk that she would excuse herself and go into the next room.
Karma was a non-Jesus-loving word in my adolescence: a New-Agey, World Religion concept that was sniffed at just like Yoga, The Dalai Lama, and Buddha. It alluded to higher planes of consciousness, spirit leaders, and reincarnation. The Golden Rule? Fine. Karma? You are entertaining other religious viewpoints... and I will pray for you.
Karma, according to the Google, is: "the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences". The Urban Dictionary says it this way: "the belief that all of your actions will have equal repercussions, affecting you". Or, "the basic theory of cause and effect".
For the past two months I have been slowly drawing myself out of the worst depression I have ever experienced. It has caused me to question many of my beliefs, my values, and my character qualities. And while I've been on this journey, karma has become extremely interesting. Not in a past-life way, not in a "I don't deserve good things" way. But in a sense of there being a yin and a yang in life.
Is there something that I have done, or been, within my life that means in order for there to be balance, I must go through this difficult season? Is there a lesson that I am supposed to learn in order to be released from this pain? And is it because of some of my past actions? My thoughtlessness, my need for control, my selfishness? How can I take this heartache and become a better person?
As I look back on my years as a wife (which I no longer am), I can be grown-up enough to admit
A lot of mistakes.
And maaaaaybe, (go with me here for a minute), just maybe, I have an opportunity, when confronted with the same behavior I regret within my past relationships, to right a wrong within my little life. I can't change the past. I can't even apologize to the non-husband, since he wants no communication with me at.all.ever.again.please.go.away. I can't make those old mistakes better. But I can respond to this confusion and hurt the way I wish I experienced. I can say, "I love you and you suck and I get it and let's talk". And maybe, it's not about making the other person feel good or better or valued. Maybe it's about showing myself you can feel good and you are better and you are valued. I can understand what makes a person act this way, because I used to act this way. It is not right and it is not okay and it is not acceptable. But I get it.
Maybe by extending grace or understanding I am not the weaker party but the bigger person. And there is balance.