Day 9 #Happiness

Free will.

Oh yeah, there’s a story.

Back before the demise of my first marriage, my then husband asserted that if I would only join his church, all our marital troubles (which had nothing to do with spirituality by the way) would magically disappear and we would live happily ever after.

You know how I said I have the tendency to stay in relationships past the point of productivity? This was one of those times. In an attempt to save our marriage, I joined his church.

I know…never EVER change something as fundamental as your spiritual core values to suit someone else. I get it. Lesson learned. Teeeee-rust me!

Anyway, fast forward 7 years, to the day he tells me he’s leaving because marriage is “too hard” because you have to actually, you know, co-habitate with another human on a day to day basis and, like, talk to ’em and stuff.

The elders from his (now our) church come over to comfort me and assure me that I have a place in the congregation with or without my husband and that it is in my spiritual best interest to continue on as a member; after all I would need their support now more than ever, blah, blah, blah.

Um, okay. I was pretty much planning on never setting foot in there again, but I figured maybe they had a point – I’d never been through a divorce before after all.  So I decided to give it a try solo.

At the next church meeting, I was introduced by one of the elders to a recent addition to the congregation. A newly separated man who’s wife had committed adultery and left the fold. He was very well spoken of, the equivalent of a deacon, had three small children and was basically looking for a “good christian woman” to step in and assume the wifely and motherly duties. Not me mind you…just any suitable, female member in good standing.

And hey, there was poor abandoned Zoe…how on earth would she survive in the world without a man to take care of her? They tried to sell me on this guy like you’d try to sell a used car.

No thought was given to matters of compatibility, affinity or, dare I even say it, attraction; just a brother in need of a wife and a sister in need of a household head. Match made in heaven (pun intended), right?

Wrong. I went home, thoroughly freaked out, and wrote my letter of resignation (my term, not theirs) that night.

This is a religion that practices shunning, so once I quit, as it were, none of them could talk with or associate with me for fear my “deviltry” would somehow rub off. Which, as you can guess as a poser anyway, suited me just fine.

Fast forward again, this time 18 years, to today. I was leaving my local Post Office and who do I see in the parking lot? The matchmaking elder from long, long ago.

Now, despite my deviltry, I have aged pretty well and look very much as I did back then, save a few more crows feet and, well, the tattoos. He recognized me right away and actually altered his path across the parking lot, heading toward me at a jog. His arm raised, his finger extended, he gesticulated wildly, as if I were a taxi he were flagging down.

This honestly surprised me, what with the shunning and all, but then I remembered that elders could talk to us lost sheep, with a view to getting us to see the error of our sinful ways and come back.

Aw HELLS no…I was right by my car, so I hopped in and got my poor, misguided  self outta there, quickstyle.

On my way back to work I stopped at a local sandwich shop to grab lunch and who was hanging around my car when I came out? You guessed it. Was he hungry too or had he followed me there? Judging by his proximity to my car, probably the second.

My clams were officially steamed now.

He was smart enough not to loiter too close to my vehicle. I attempted to ignore him and just get into my car and leave, but he closed the distance between us and said, “Zoe, I need to speak with you. It’s about your soul…”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Not to mock his beliefs, but just because the whole thing was so effing strange.

It’s about your soul“? Seriously?

Shit like this only happens to me.

At least a million statements, ranging from witty to sarcastic to downright snarky ran through my head at warp speed. I mean, I don’t take kindly to zealots of any kind FOLLOWING ME. I even toyed with flashing him the ASL hand sign for Satan and winking, just to mess with him.

But no. I am a free moral agent. I don’t base my behavior on that of other people, or deities. I decide for myself what is right and what is wrong according to my own moral compass.

I took the high road (and the rational one, which seemed to be in short supply during this event). Not because I feared for the consequences on my soul, or retribution in some kind of after life, or because I cared one iota for this individual…or any other reason aside from the fact that I choose to be the kind of person who takes the high road.

I put my hand up and brought my finger to my lips (as in, shhhhhh) and he stopped babbling about the works of the devil, mid-sentence.

I said, “Shunning works both ways”, as I strode by him.

He stood there with his mouth agape. I don’t think he had envisioned the conversation going quite like that.

Giving him my winningest smile, I got into my car and pulled away.

Happiness  =  Free Will.

 

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. DEM
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 00:48:01

    What a wonderful post! Well done, you!

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