It's amazing how negativity stays with you. It hibernates sometimes, shoved way down deep, only to spring up like a vengeful ghost whenever you let your guard down. It happened to me Big Time today and no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to shake this dark cloud of self-loathing hanging over me.
Over the weekend, my mini van pretty much bit the dust. It's 10 years old and has 154K miles on it, so it's not a big surprise. But I was hoping to drive it another year or so before having to take on a car payment. It's just not in my budget to make a car payment right now. The transmission went out and it already needed brakes and a muffler, so it's not worth fixing considering its value (or lack thereof.)
Instead of just chalking it up to bad luck and the car being past its prime, I started thinking today about how I've been quite unfortunate in all things financial in the past few years, and really my whole life, if I think about it. I can never seem to get ahead and as soon as I think the clouds are parting, something goes awry.
Today I remembered two things that were said to me a few years ago. When we had been separated for almost a year and I accidentally rear-ended someone in his car, my ex-husband was rightfully pissed off at me. And he made this comment: "When you're not a good person, bad things happen to you." Basically he felt hurt that our marriage had fallen apart, so he invoked Karma. Apparently my wreck was punishment for not wanting to be with him anymore.
A year before that, when he and I were still together, we were looking to buy a house. My parents had promised to help us with the downpayment but when push came to shove, they reneged. Do you know what they told us? They told us that maybe if we went to church and tithed regularly we wouldn't have financial problems.
At the time I thought, whoa, whatever happened to being saved by grace? And then I thought, "Who tells their adult children that they are poor because they're being punished by God?" At the time we were both state employees and hadn't gotten raises in four years. We'd actually been furloughed for half of the time we'd worked for the state. So I thought, wow, who knew The State of Maryland's budget issues were all because we didn't go to church and tithe?
Even though I know their accusations have no logical merit, on days like today I wonder if I AM being punished. Am I a bad person getting what I deserve in never being able to get ahead? Am I going to drag my fiance down under this curse? I try pretty hard to treat people the way I want to be treated. That's what it's all about, right? The Golden Rule? Then I wonder, is God punishing me because I am not the Good Little Churchgoer that I was for decades, even though my faith has not faltered? If I'd stayed in my marriage and in the church, would I be living in the lap of luxury right now? Or at least be able to afford a new car?
I'm a sinner, I fully admit. I try to do the right thing, but sometimes I fail. I write about sex and I am living in sin with my fiance. I broke up my family and I share custody of my children, so I'm not with them everyday. Maybe I am a bad person and a bad Christian. But it seems like there are some pretty Big Time Assholes out there living it up and rolling in dough. What do all the self-righteous, fundamentalist Christians have to say about that?
I just don't know some days. All I do know is that I'm not going to be driving my own vehicle anywhere for awhile.