Something happened to me last night.
My car was broken into. Someone shattered the passenger side window and stole my iPod. I hated to lose the iPod, but more than that, I hate having to pay to repair the window. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to afford to do it until I get paid on the 15th, and I'd have to drive around with a plastic bag taped up where my window should be. It made me sad. I've lost lots of cool electronics in my husband's active using days. I felt pretty sorry for myself for losing more stuff. I felt sad that I can't have nice things. I was angry about having to drive around with a flapping plastic mess of a window.
Lately, I wake up frequently at 4:30 in the morning to fret. I fret with amazing clarity at this time of night, and sometimes I'll get up and write to alleviate my anxiety or to record what the things are I am thinking about. Last night, I woke up and immediately began fretting about my car window. I couldn't understand how it would happen. For years, I put myself in dangerous situation after dangerous situation. I'd be out at bars and nightclubs until the wee hours of the morning. I'd go home with strange men or bring strange men home with me. I was frequently drunk or high or in scary situation where I owed drug dealers money, but never once did I have consequences for this behavior. These days, I spend my time at work or at meetings. I'm in bed most nights by 11. I go to church and I pray and I meditate and I don't drink or do drugs. I'm working on my shit, and I'm taking good care of myself, and still--I'm experiencing the consequences of my poor decisions.
I got myself all worked up about karma and wondered when I'd get out of the barreling effects of my causes. I've done a lot of wrong in my life and made a lot of bad decisions, and I wondered when would it stop. When would I be able to stop paying for my mistakes?
In a voice that wasn't my own, I heard an answer:
Ask God to forgive you for your sins.
I laughed a little at the idea. It seemed kind of cheesy, but then I heard it again.
Ask God to forgive you for your sins if you want to escape from cause and effect.
It had never occurred to me before that I felt imprisoned by my karma, and I'd never really understood the beautiful way out that the Christian portal to God offered. I got out of bed and got on my knees and prayed: Please, God, forgive me for my sins. Please forgive the people who have hurt me for their sins.
Thank you, God, for taking my past and using it to teach me lessons, to make me into a better person. Thank you for your grace.
The next morning, I got up and felt much better about my car, my life, my consequences. Even better, I checked my banking information, and I'd gotten my income tax refund.