Life has been good in the last year. We love our new location, I have a great new job, our kids are thriving. But I’m wondering how long it will be before I stop seeing correlations between real-life and my spirituality? For instance, if we’re sick or things are going poorly, I must admit I still wonder “is this because I left the church? is this a sign!?” The thought doesn’t last long, reason wins out, but… it’s still deeply ingrained in me to think that way.
For instance, we’ve been doing well financially since our move to Georgia. Add to it the fact I essentially got a 10% raise when I stopped paying tithing (a good portion of which I spend on charity and good works- preferably the very transparent kind) and I’d say this is the most “temporally blessed” we’ve ever been. 2 years ago, I would have chalked this up to “tithing blessings”. And now… I can’t just let it be, I have to assign it to something!
I still feel “blessed” and acknowledge that we’ve been very lucky, have good karma, or whatever supernatural force is out there seems to like us. I’ve always been “blessed”, “lucky” or whatever you want to call it. Like the time I lost my iphone just weeks after enabling the “where’s my phone” app, and was able to give the cops a description of the trailer park my phone had wandered off to. The cop was bored and went and checked it out- and I had my phone back the next morning. That’s how things always work out- I mess up, and somehow the universe makes it better. I always figured I had a great guardian angel. Maybe I still do.
On the other hand… the last month or so I’ve had a resurgence of depression, as I went off an anti-anxiety drug (that was doing a good job taking the edge off the emotions, but seriously ruining my thyroid). I can’t help but wonder if I’m more depressed now because I don’t have the spirit? Is God is trying to tell me something? Or because I have clinical depression and my chemistry is unbalanced? Nevermind the fact that the previous six months had been very happy (again- is this a sign that leaving the church was the right thing, or was my medication simply doing its job?)
I have to remind myself, I was depressed for TEN YEARS while in the church. At the time, I saw it as a trial that I could use to better myself- and I absolutely still believe that. As a matter of fact, some of my best attributes (empathy, self-awareness, a drive to improve) are clearly results of my struggle.
I am TERRIFIED of something bad happening to our family, like cancer or something, not just for the obvious reasons, but because of the assumptions people will make. Because I know what assumptions I would have made, though I would never have voiced them: “I bet they wish they still had the gospel.” “I bet they wish they had a ward family.” “I bet they wish they had the priesthood.” “I wonder if they’re being punished.” (That last one I would barely have admitted to myself- I never did believe in a God that worked like that).
How long do I have to be out of the church before I can just take things for what they are, continuing to be grateful for the good and trying to make the best of the bad?