So often people look the other way and pretend things don’t exist, but we have done that for so long and it has added to the predicament our country, or world, is in today. Today the subject is, again, religion. When someone else’s faith interferes with my life I don’t like it.
Everyone has the right to choose their faith. I am a Nichiren Buddhist. If you don’t want to be one, too, that is fine. My faith doesn’t affect you. But if you are Christian your faith intrudes into my life in many ways.
There is not a single breath in me that believes in a power outside myself that actually knows little ol’ me, understands my thoughts or desires, has a plan for my life I should trust and also has a personality and emotions. Two of those emotions are anger and hate, because he sure does hate gays I’ve been told. I find that thought rather ridiculous. But what I believe, I don’t insist everyone else has to believe. Each of us has to find our own way through life. We can also choose nothing at all, which is also our choice. Most people believe what they were taught, consider that to be truth and look no further. Again, their choice.
Yesterday I read God caused the floods in La to punish the gays. How did that become newsworthy? That stunt was also floated by ( wow, a pun) during Hurricane Katrina. He also didn’t cure me of Hep C. ( I just got my last test results. Clear after 42 years. A miracle!!! Nope, not even one teeny tiny prayer to anything “out there” to fix me. So I wonder how I did it? How did I get cured if I didn’t need a Celestial Being to do it? Why would anyone? Because a Christian would believe God saved them and that would be proof of His existence. But that’s okay – if it makes you happy. The whole point is being cured however it happened.
The country I live is politically trying to use personal faith to control the politics of a country through “Biblical Law”. That makes me very angry. We know that is what they are trying to do. If you sincerely are Christian and you approve of everyone having to live their lives based on corrupt politicians using the Christian faith for control so they can push through policies you might think are good for YOU but bad for others, then you are aiding the failure of this country. The supposedly devout Christian politicians – The “White Right” are about as far from being Christian as possible. The fact that there are states where you have to declare your Christianity to even hold public office is scary. Anyone can say anything. Then they have to go to church to be seen even though their actions outside the church are opposite of what they declare is truth. That tells you their belief is only as deep as the hair on their skin.
The fact that we got as close as we did to having a presidential candidate who thinks he is an “Anointed Christ King” is scary as hell. There are people who actually approve of this fanatic! Sadly, we’ll have to deal with him again in 3 years. Our contenders for office, who are declared Christians are lying through their teeth. They only want the Christian vote, of Christians who say they are, but aren’t or maybe are. Three is more than one kind of Christian.
Through our bought and paid for media along with the Trumpster, many people now believe all Muslims are terrorists, the same way Muslims not living here think all Christians are terrorists. So who are the real terrorists? Are you one? Do you fear Muslims whose only “crime” is being Muslim. Are you hateful?
Don’t get me wrong. I know there are people who honestly try to live the life of a Christian, and there are some who are in it for the social life and activities. I have Christian friends – just not the hateful ones. I got rid of those. Some people are just good people, regardless of their faith.
Buddhists consider the law of cause and effect to be absolute, just like gravity on earth is absolute. Christianity has the same teaching – You reap what you sow – but from what I’ve heard and read it isn’t a lesson that carries much weight. It’s not very important. A pastor in his writings online told his followers not to worry about that phrase, even though it is mentioned dozens of times in the Bible. He said it didn’t matter because Jesus died for their sins. So anyone reading that could take that to mean it doesn’t matter what they do or how they behave because they are saved. Just say the words “forgive me” and all is hunky dory. Oops! Not quite. You might think you are forgiven but there is still the issue of a reaction to every action whether you believe that is true or not. Why strive to be a better person while you are alive if you are saved from repercussions and are going to heaven anyway? Maybe that is why we have so many dirty politicians?
Donald didn’t create the hate. It has always been there. He just let it out of the bottle and people began to show their true natures they had so far had kept hidden. No one would have openly declared themselves to be racist. It would not have been politically correct. Now they can and do.
We had convinced ourselves we were a cut a above other countries. We were special. ( We have bigger guns). Not anymore. All you have to do is tally up the ALL of the gun deaths which is scary. The first half of this year there have been 35,019 gun incidents, 8,963 gun deaths, 413 deaths of children under the age of 11, 1953 deaths of teens ages 11 – 17, 253 mass shootings, 205 cops killed and 1163 people killed by cops. No country in the world comes close to comparing with the US in gun violence yet people still use the term “Christian Nation”. What a joke.
During this political election year I have heard many “good” Christians full of so much hate for a variety of reasons. The Christian Right are some of the most hate Christians alive. It has been so disheartening to me that people who speak so highly of being loved by their God could hate other people so strongly. I can’t wrap my head around that. Can someone explain it to me?
I could not find one gun death in America that was caused by a Buddhist – and there are millions who practice this faith here. NOT ONE. Which faith do you think has the better teaching? Which one would you rather be? God is slipping up here if so many Christians feel they need to carry guns and use them. My sister wears a gold cross around her neck and carries a gun in her purse. Her husband had ALL of his guns taken away after he got drunk and pulled his gun on a friend in the same room with his wife. He can quite Bible verses like a pro. A lot of good that did him.
Okay, that’s it. I’ve said my piece. Like it our lump it
I am not like most other people I meet and I know that. It’s hard to pretend to be like them because they can’t even see what the difference is. They feel it, it scares them and they make no attempt to understand it. They push me away. It has been so evident on this “vacation”. It has made me understand why it has been so hard with members of my family. I’ve known it, thought I could change it -help them understand, and couldn’t, but this has made it definite. You can pick your friends, but you’re stuck with your family.
I think a lot about the meaning of life. I think about what a friend is. I think it means more to me than it does to many other people. Let me rephrase that. I want friends who have something to say. People who don’t waste their life, or disrespect their life; those who live their lives honestly. People who have a desire to continually learn and dig beneath the surface away from only being able to talk about the weather. Maybe that’s why they are so hard to find. The world has a bunch of acquaintances that only go skin deep. I want more from a friend than I think most people have the ability to give, or perhaps they have no clue what it means. Sometimes, in a rare moment of time I meet someone I immediately know understands and can talk for hours exchanging ideas and philosophies. But it is always disappointing when you are with someone who can only talk about their prejudices and negatives and doesn’t care who you are, what you say or what you are doing and you realize they aren’t interested at all. They don’t even know the questions to ask. They aren’t even on the same planet. You realize then there is nothing there that matters. How do you have a conversation when you have nothing in common?
What is a Friend?
It’s like the question; what is a sister? Is it being able to talk about all your aches and pains because you both have them? Is it being able to talk about disappointments in your grown children wondering why they became who they are? Is the weather the only safe subject? Wow, it’s really hot today. That’s deep. Do you talk about life? No. That is too touchy. They have no idea why they believe what they do because they never really thought about it. It’s just an abstract thing they don’t even try to understand. Conversation is shallow and meaningless as they wait to die and don’t care if they do. They leave nothing behind for anyone to remember they were ever here. That describes almost everyone I meet. The sad thing is that there is no interest to understand what that means. Who am I to think I could have something to teach them that could affect their life in a positive way?
“I am a Christian,” I am often told. I commend myself most of the time for refraining from asking, “Why?” What would the answer have been? “Because . . .” without really knowing why or realizing that your faith should impact how you live your life. “Because . . . that is what I was told and I never questioned it. It’s about going to this place called heaven after you die, but it doesn’t alter how they live their life or how they treat the people around them. But how can you be a Christian and be so judgemental and hateful toward others? Doesn’t being a Christian mean anything to you? Why would anyone want to be a Christian if they were looking at you as a guide for behavior? But I didn’t talk about any of this. I realized I would be speaking a language that wouldn’t be understood and I’d be beating my head against the wall. I have a friend who is a Christian who lives her faith as though it is important to her. She really believes and understands the Bible because she makes a concerted effort to study and apply it. We have interesting conversations because we respect each other. We exchange ideas without trying convert each other.
Most people have no clue why they believe what they do. Recently my 36 year old daughter found fault with me as a parent because I didn’t teach her about Christianity when she was a child. Why would I do that? I was a devout agnostic long before she was born and began studying Buddhism from the time she was eight. Why would I teach her a religion with a God when I believed there was no such thing. I also didn’t teach her about the Muslim faith or Judaism, Scientology or Wiccan. Don’t blame me for your unhappiness. I won’t accept the responsibility. When the woman I was just traveling with declared, “I am a Christian.” I bit my tongue and didn’t say, “Lot of good that’s doing you because you sure are miserable.” I kept that to myself. They don’t get it. If your faith doesn’t enable you to be happy while you live, what’s the point? You think happiness comes after you die? Life is for the living, not the dead.
I met a man at a campsite laundry room while traveling in a motor home in Arizona. (Why anyone would want to live in 111 degree weather -in the shade – is beyond me) He was Albanian and had traveled the world. Astute in the politics of countries. I learned from him. He came to the US 30 years ago and has lived by himself in the desert for 21 years and enjoys the solitude. Very much a hermit lifestyle, but still he craves human conversation. In me he met someone who loves to talk. We covered many subjects. He comes to the campsite laundry room to wash his clothes. I don’t even know his name. I think he was in his 60’s. We hit it off right away and talked for probably 2 hours about many aspects of life from religion to politics to people. He explained how and why people in other countries feel about us as they do. We have done horrible things to people in other countries yet we think we are the good guys. We aren’t. We didn’t get this powerful by being nice. They are retaliating. Can you blame them. Our people are soft. We wouldn’t last a week in the countries we decimate. Our country is fat and stupid. Kids graduate high school and can’t even count back change at a register if it didn’t tell them how much to give. Every week there is another mass shooting, but don’t dare try to take away my gun! I might need to protect myself from my neighbor when I see him in Walmart. I wouldn’t set foot in a Walmart. If you have to ask why it’s too late to teach you. I don’t support corporations that help destroy the country for greed.
Many people think we are the good guys, but are we? I don’t think so. There are still people who think our military is protecting democracy. It’s not. We go to war because it makes corporations rich. People suck it up watching Fox news and think it’s the truth. But still, my new friend said, as fucked up as this country is -it’s worse out there and he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Wouldn’t it be great if we stopped raping this country out of greed? Wouldn’t it be great if the people who lived here mattered and the 1% didn’t run us over time and again? Wouldn’t it be great if our elections weren’t a farce?
I have often heard the phrase, “Never talk religion or politics” but talking with this man was such a pleasure. It was the only honest conversation I had the entire month I was gone. How wonderful to have a conversation with someone who understands what you are talking about. It’s rare. He knew what I meant when I said it was hard to find people who didn’t take offense because I am outspoken about what I believe to be true. He said those people are out there. Keep searching. Okay, I will.
I have some questions I wish someone would answer. I’m trying to decide if I want to go to heaven.
What would life be without challenges? Are there any challenges in heaven or are we done with all that? It is easy to say, if we got everything we wanted in life it would be very boring. If we didn’t have to work to improve our life or our talents, it would be no fun. If it all came easy, there would be no feeling of accomplishment. That is how I view heaven and why I would never want to go there when I try to imagine what I have heard about the place.
I relate life to the song, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” and what do you think he saw? He saw another mountain. If there were no more mountains to climb there would be no more lessons to learn, and you might as well park it in front of your TV and let someone else’s life and let their problems entertain you until you are tired enough to go to sleep. BORING.
I think heaven would be very boring without challenges to overcome and things to learn. Is there any mention in the Bible of being able to go to school in heaven, or do we automatically know everything about everything and everyone there all knows the same stuff, too? No one is smarter than anyone else? No one has a different talent? Can everyone play the piano? If there isn’t a piano there I don’t want to go. Or do we all just sit around in the grass and feeling happy? I get a lot of enjoyment from learning new things and if I can’t do that in heaven I’d be pretty upset – and bored. Do we just sit around adoring God and feeding his over large ego who says – “There shall be no Gods before me or I’ll through a plague or something at you.” Sounds pretty insecure to me.
This is part of my problem with Christianity. I’d have an easier time accepting it except for the human feelings and emotions of love and hate that are given to him. He also sounds extremely selfish and definitely only loving when he feels like it. “You didn’t worship me enough today. I didn’t see you at my feet. Where were you?”
We are supposed to be able to see God in heaven right? There are a lot of people up there. It should be crowded, except for all of these really good people who helped people and cared for the sick and loved the animals, but they were atheists and Buddhists and Christian scientists (they are a little weird) and yes, Muslims and wiccans and pagans and they all had to go to hell. There are a whole bunch more of all these people than there are Christians because Christianity is not the number one religion in the world and yet they can’t go to heaven. But a really bad person can repent at the end and he gets to go! Maybe he doesn’t get all the same perks as someone who was a believer their whole life. What does the Bible say about that?
Since there are many many planets and we aren’t even at the center of everything, and there are also many solar systems we know nothing about, and we amount to a piece of dust, the chance of other types of life are probably out there. So how come God has human “feelings”? Or is he a different god to other species? I think people have attached these human qualities out of a need to be protected and loved. I practice Nichiren Buddhism as many of you already know. We DO BELIEVE there is power in the universe. It’s as real as the tides and the cycle of life – birth, aging, sickness and death that all life goes through. We just don’t give it emotions. We don’t need to have it love us. To me that seems silly. I read a bunch of posters on facebook that has God saying this and that and feeling this and that and you know darn well he never said any of it. It is a human being projecting their own feelings on what they think God would have said. Now, I may be pissing off a few people, but I have to deal with so much stuff on Christianity printed online so you can deal with this from me. If you continue reading you just might learn something useful.
Tell me about these mansions we are to live in – are they self cleaning? Do we just go outside and play? What good is having a mansion if we don’t cook in it, because we can’t eat because then we have to poop and then we would need plumbing and plumbers to keep them fixed. I doubt we need to sleep so what do we do all night? Or is there even night and day? What the hell do we do all day? I need answers!
Are there any new books being written? I love to read. I just have so many questions about what we do for eternity because it really is a long time. And after all the people we knew and were close to have died, and they have gone to either heaven or hell, then there would be no new people to greet. No new babies to cuddle or birthday cakes to make. No new friends – unless we make friends of other people up there? Any mention of these things in the Bible?
Please – someone tell me – what do we do for eternity in heaven where the skies are always blue and the birds always sing and harps never need to be tuned or repaired? I hear a lot from Christians about going to heaven when they die but I have never heard one person tell me what happens after we get there! If you have the answer, tell me. If no one knows, I have no intention on going. I think I will instead reincarnate into another life so I can continue on my growth. I’d rather use the wisdom I am gaining and move to a higher stage of development so I can help other people overcome the problems in their life. I want to be able to use what I am learning for a better purpose.
Our life is one big cause and effect. 100%. We can’t pick and choose what we want and have it magically be there. We have to work for it. I think everyone can agree on that. It has to happen because we made a cause for it. We have to make a plan and fight through all the setbacks until we accomplish it. We have to be responsible for the effect of our causes. We can’t chose to not be affected by our causes just like we can’t choose when we want to be affected by gravity. Gravity doesn’t work only part of the time. If we jump off a building we are going to smack the ground. That is cause and effect.
In the Bible it teaches “You reap what you sow”. What does that mean to you? How much time have you given to thinking about that? Do you apply it to everything you do? Do you think before you act? It’s the same thing as the law of cause and effect. Buddhist or Christian it is the exact same thing. So either you are responsible or you aren’t. If you come back and say God gives you free will then doesn’t that blow his plan to pieces? Or does he keep readjusting the plan depending on the causes you make. That is confusing. Either he has a plan or he doesn’t. You don’t reap what you sow part of the time – you reap it all of the time. It is the basis for all you do because you have to live with the effects. We get back what we dish out. What goes around come around. We all have karma, made by what you think, say and do. Hundreds of years ago they took any mention of the word karma out of the bible. Why? In order to control the people who could neither read nor right. They had to be afraid of going to hell. If they knew they didn’t have to fear the wrath of God they would have less control. I’m not making this up. This is history.
Have you ever really asked yourself why you believe what you do? Seriously? I have. When I was young – up until age 18 I believed what I was taught to believe. Everyone around me believed the same thing. A lot of them even went to the same church I did. There was also Monday evening catechism class, Girl Scouts on Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon bible school and Thursday evening choir practice, Sunday school and Church. We were in the church a lot. That was in addition to my parents activities and pot lucks and Luther league. Church was a big part of our life and I had a good time. I had my Sunday clothes and shoes and after church we always had a big Sunday dinner where everyone sat around the table. We had all of our dinners together. Aside from the religion itself, I came from a time when families acted like a family. We were taught table manners and never talked back to our elders. We never even THOUGHT about talking back to our elders. Showing respect was a big thing. Once that was lost it is easy to see the effect on families today.
But back to religion – it was all for show. It had nothing to do with what was taught during the sermons. Everyone believed in God because it was what you were taught. You never learned anything else. That DOES NOT make it valid. When you question what you’re taught and start to think for yourself, you finally say, this doesn’t make sense. You realize it is only something passed doesn’t through the ages, like gossip, changing here and there depending on the capacity of the people’s understanding at the time.
Some people are afraid to not believe just in case God gets angry and causes bad things to happen. Some people believe because they want a place like heaven to exist because the are either afraid of dying or because they don’t want to exist. Some people believe because they are afraid of what people will say. Some people believe because it’s easier and they don’t want to have to learn anything else. And . . . I can’t leave these people out . . . some people believe because they really do and they try hard to live by what they are taught. I understand and respect that choice. There are many good things taught in the bible. You will find many of the same things in the Sutras – the teachings of Shakamuni Buddha.
What I have little respect for are the Christians who say they are Christian but it doesn’t effect their behavior. They say they believe in God but it doesn’t change anything. They think believing is all they need to do. Ask for forgiveness and keep on doing the same thing.
I’ve gone on a bit of a rant. But I’m serious about wanting to know what it is you believe happens in heaven because I seriously have no clue. So if you can tell me I’d appreciate it. Then again, if no one can answer my questions or give me anything more than what you think is up there and can’t back it up then I’ll just considerate it hearsay and whole lot of wishful thinking.
As a Buddhist I believe heaven and hell is life condition we live – not some place we go when we die. http://sgi-usa.org
…….This is one of the best explanations I have read on this issue and it wasn’t what I expected. The responses on the original are very worth reading. I found this blog quite by accident (the best kind) because I replied to a comment I received which lead from blog to blog. If you have read my posts here or at my other blog My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison you may already know I am a Nichiren Buddhist. This explanation crosses faith lines. I would be curious to know how you feel about this.
To all of my Christian brothers and sisters who insist that homosexuality is a choice, I need to break down and finally admit something: I agree with you.
I believe that it absolutely is a choice too, only not in the way that you may have meant.
But I guess that’s largely the crux of the problem we have here. I think you use your terms too loosely without really thinking them through. When you say quite matter-of-factly that homosexualityis a choice, I’m not sure you really know in that moment, just what you mean by “homosexuality”.
Far too often Christian, when you make the statement that being gay is a sin, what you’re really doing without realizing it is reducing all LGBT people down to a sex act; as if that alone defines sexuality.
You’re denying any emotional component in their lives; any capacity to feel real love or show genuine affection toward someone…
When I wake in the morning I always grab my Nook, swallow 10 mg of methadone and start my daily routine on the web, while waiting for some of the pain to subside, so I can get on with my day, which usually includes 12 hrs or more in front of my laptop on my other website http://mynameisjamie.net or writing my book “InsideOut” There are three of ten chapters written so far that can be found on the opening page of that site. The weather isn’t nice outside, so I have a reason to hole up inside. I absolutely hate cold weather and won’t go out in it if I don’t have it.
I’m beating about the bush. I happened on some posts at https://drkottaway.wordpress.com/ about how childhood trauma can affect you. There are quite a few great posts here and is a worthwhile blog going to. I have some deep issues dealing with my family and they came to a head recently and dealing with them has not been easy. I decided to just write and get it out.
I am inserting a piece of music I recorded. My music is all improvisational, never to be played again. A wrong note here and there. Keep that in mind and listen while you read.
———————————————–Sonni Quick copyright 2015 -Watching and Waiting
When we are children, we have no way to process the things that happen to us, so we end up thinking it is our fault and most of the time it affects who we are to this very day. It’s not so easy to just say, “I won’t think about it any more. It won’t affect my life any more”, because the damage has already been done and all we can do is pick up the pieces and try to use what we have learned in a positive way somehow. Easier said than done. I don’t think any child escapes trauma of some kind and even though it may even seem like such a small thing today, back then it affected everything – which then affects your existence today.
I went through a molestation with a visiting uncle who took his penis out and wanted me to touch it. I did. He did it one of my sisters, too. I didn’t find that out, though for 45 years. I never told anyone. Neither did she. He didn’t visit for long, so he had no other opportunities to do anything else. I don’t know why I never said anything, but I knew it was wrong. What do you say, “Uncle took his thingy out” – when I don’t even think I knew then what it was called? I never told anyone until I was in my 50’s.
Negative family relationships
I have a sister a year older than me who, when I was 5, when we were walking to school, wouldn’t let me walk with her, and this 6 year old told me, “I don’t want anyone to know you are my sister.” Until we graduated, if she saw me in the school hall she turned her face away. If my own sister didn’t want me around why would anyone? I hated to go to the lunch room in fear I’d have no one to sit with. Gym class petrified me and I thought of every excuse I could to not have to play games where people picked other people for their team. Since I had no friends, of course I was usually picked last or close to it. Until I graduated I had very few friends. Until I was 34 I had very few friends. I scared people off by not being friendly first, so I didn’t have to worry if I was going to be rejected. I had such a fear of rejection I rejected them first. Why would someone want to be friends with me?
It wasn’t until I started practicing Buddhism and this woman I didn’t know called me and asked if I wanted to come to a discussion meeting. I stood there with my hand on the phone in total amazement. A woman called me like she was my friend? She wanted me around? I remember this so clearly.
Aside from this, I hustled pool, changed my name and reinvented myself several timees. spent many years working as a professional musician, on stage many, many times. Confident, strong and an air of being so sure of myself and my goals. I needed no one. My wall was very high. My confidence alone pushed people away. I could walk into a club and pick what man I wanted to spend time with and walk out with him. I made myself believe I needed no one.
It’s easy to see why my family didn’t quite know how to deal with me, but did they need to be quite so hurtful? We’re in our 60’s. Okay, I led a very diverse life. It sure wasn’t boring. This truth telling has only been the tip of the iceberg? Could I have led their lives doing the same thing over and over for decades?
I have a younger sister, but we were never “sisters”. She has recently made it clear that she doesn’t know ” how”. A few weeks ago at the age of 61 my older sister had quadruple heart bypass surgery. I have a fairly large family. Mom, and also a variety of neices and nephews and their families. Everyone was at the hospital to support her – except me, because I knew if I went it would cause a big problem. So I stayed home and kicked the walls for a few days. I sent her a card, said nice things in about wanting to see her, wrote her an email asking her to please call. She won’t answer her phone because she sees it’s me. No response.
Four years ago I had to move home to Pa from Key West. I lost my home and my business, a retail store of ten years at the Weston Hotel where the cruise ships docked. I lost everything. My husband and I moved to my mothers into a 10×10 room. My whole life was in storage or in that room. I think my family expected me to be a whole person, but I wasn’t. I was shattered into tiny pieces that were unable to process thought very well any more. I was very sick and was put on the liver transplant list, because 40 years ago, when I left home to go to college, I turned to drugs.
Drugs took the place of friends. people don’t do drugs because it makes them feel bad. It fills a hole. It puts good feelings in a place there is none. I had no self worth and when I was high I could come out of myself and play and dance and sing and be the person I wanted to be. It gave me fortitude the same way a drink gives fortitude to an alcoholic.
I was raped once when I was about 20. The only person I told was this man’s girlfriend. I ended that relationship. All I did was run away and spent 3 days shooting heroin, but stopped the first time I felt sick and knew it would make me feel better. I made a sign on a piece of cardboard and hitchhiked home, although home was not where I grew up.
Except occasionally,when I went to Pa every couple years to visit, I had no communication with my sisters. Why?
I had a problem with drugs off and on until age 34. Once and addict always an addict, just like someone never really recovers from alcohol. One drink can set them back. I never turned down any drug if it was put in front of my face. But at 34, I found Nichiren Buddhism, which I’ve written about many times. Even my mother changed from Christianity to Buddhism after she took an honest look at what it taught. But it was at age 34, when I realized my life really did have value and I didn’t need to be afraid any more. That was 27 years ago.
That day I stopped doing street drugs. But within months the ugly head of hep C reared with unexplained illnesses. Since very few doctors knew abou Hepatitis C they gave an addict pain pills for the nerve pain or wanted to give me anti depressants because, since they couldn’t diagnose it, it was all in my head. It was another ten years before I got a diagnoses. I stayed on my feet for 12 more years until my liver was a complete mess and a transplant was necessary. It had turned to liver cancer. I was out of time. I had to move home where there was a good transplant hospital.
Shooting drugs from ages 19-22, hiding from myself and pretending to be someone else was a massive cause and effect.
My mother has always asked me why I did drugs. If I hadn’t left the state to go to college, which I screwed up doing drugs, and stayed home, maybe I wouldn’t have done them? Karma is karma. There are drugs everywhere. Staying home wouldn’t have changed that, but being away my family also meant they couldn’t see what I was doing.
When I moved back to Pa I thought I would have a family who cared about me. It was a very big shock, although I don’t know why, to find out that I didn’t. They didn’t care a whit about what happened to me and proved it over and over and over. I thought, “Stupid me”
I had that transplant 2 1/2 years ago. Not one member of my family was there for me that day, except my husband. The rest of my family went to the beach on vacation. Not one phone call to even see if I was dead. My mother did stop by the ICU on her way out of town. My Dr said my transplant was in the nick of time. My husband was scared to death and there was no one there to support him. My family didn’t like him, either, and they made no bones about saying so. The negative gossip was so thick you could cut it with a knife. They didn’t know him, but being married to me was all that was needed. I was told I had maybe a couple weeks of life left at the most, if they hadn’t been able to find a liver in time. I’d been bed ridden for about a year by then. My husband had to do everything for me, even wipe my ass and help me on and off the toilet. I was on a massive amount of drugs to keep protein from building up in my brain and going into a coma. My body swelled up so big with fluid it was leaking out through sores on my legs. Thinking was hard. All I could was lay in bed and watch movies on my DVD player. We don’t own a TV. He would help me walk to the living room to sit or out to the garden and sit. Not one get well card. No one called. Recently, when talking to my neice she told me how bad I looked before my surgery. I bit my tongue and kept my mouth shut because I wanted to say, “How would you know? I didn’t see you once the year before my surgery. . . . They have no clue. I was bedridden for a year after the surgery because I had to relearn how to walk and feed myself. After the surgery my back fractured along with 7 ribs, one at a time. The wall of solid pain didn’t even begin to diminish for six weeks. If anyone would have asked me if I wanted to die, I would have gladly gone. Hopefully I will be having spine surgery in the next couple months so they can place sensors in my spine to try and cut off the pain before it reaches my brain. I hate taking these goddamn painkillers. But when I stopped ‘using’ my life made me continue. what would my life be like with no pills, even though half of them are so I don’t reject my new liver.
Now, as I try to bring this sob story to an end, as I try to figure out what all of this means, I know, as we go through painful events in our lives, we want to see them as being separate . We want to see them as things that were done “to” us, and we carry these pains, stuff them down, and try to make ourselves think it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we let it ruin our lives. I can honestly say that this hateful family of mine is not ruining my life. I seek to understand and change the karma I brought into my life of having a family such as this one.
It hurts me greatly when I think of it, but I have had my practice of Buddhism to help me understand that happiness comes from within. I can’t ask anything else to change it for me. That change has to come from within. Without this practice of Buddhism I would have been dead a long time ago. It was the direction I was going in. But winter always turns to spring. Every single year. Every year is a new opportunity I have to live a life of value, and to pass that value on, because the only legacy we can every really leave behind is the effect we have had on other people, that has helped their life in turn. If my family sees no value in me, then that is a cause they make for themselves. I let this consume me for the past four years out of my 60, but no more. I try to think, what value would they bring into my life? I have tried, though, because I see how much it pains my mother to see her daughters at such odds. All 3 of us – none of us are friends. She thinks she did something wrong. She didn’t. I so love and appreciate my mother and if this illness brought me home to live a block away from her, then that is a wonderful benefit. If anything changed with my sisters it would take all three of us to want it to be better, and two out of three don’t.
I tried for so long to “make” my family see me as a real person – to want to include me in their lives. I’ve pleaded, wrote letters and even screamed and yelled in frustration, “Why? What have I done that is so terrible? Why are you being such a lousy sister?” I wanted to have even one person say they were sorry for letting me go through a traumatic illness, surgery alone, but my younger sister insists, “I have nothing to be sorry about”. You have nothing to be sorry about?? She doesn’t get it. Not at all. I wanted an apology for what she did to me. She’s says she didn’t do anything to me. She’s right. It’s what she didn’t do.
According to my family I am toxic. I am the scapegoat for all the problems in the family even though they haven’t been around me. This year, for Christmas, my mother and I cooked dinner and invited family to come. They did, but there was also a Christmas party planned at my nephew’s house. Everyone was invited but me so there wouldn’t be any problems. There will be no more Christmas dinners, or birthdays or fourth of July picnics. I won’t be where I am truly not wanted. What did they think I was going to do? Christmas presents I had for one sister are still in my closet. The birthday card I had for my other sister on March 15th was never sent. For awhile one sister did pretend to care – the one who just had heart surgery, but due to urgings from the family passing gossip, she, too, cut off communication. If I could think of what I did to cause this unforgivable animosity I could deal with it better, but I can’t. I just don’t understand people who can be so hurtful andso selfish
So I ask myself, why do I want them in my life? What is the purpose of family? Do I judge myself by the way I am judged? Am I the person they judge me to be? No.
I know that what happened when I was five, when my sister made it clear she wanted no part of being my sister – she meant it, even though she didn’t think it at the time, and I’m sure doesn’t even remember saying it. I know the way I felt about myself helped lead me to drugs. I also know, through my study of life through Buddhism these past 27 years that this was karma I caused for myself, somewhere, somehow. It is what I do with this understanding that will either change it or perpetuate it.
For my own sanity I have to let my family go. Stop trying to make them love me, because they don’t. They really, really don’t. They are a group of people that kisses and hugs at holidays and talks about the weather and their jobs and kids, and then doesn’t speak to each other again until the next holiday. So shallow. That holds no value for me. I wanted a sister to be my friend. What is an adult sister but a friend. Someone you talk to about your life. Who you are. I wanted too much from my family. I see that now. I have no value to them. How could we possibly be friends? So how could their children or their children want me as their aunt. So here I am at age 60, finally realizing with utter completeness, I – Have – No – Family. I do still have my mother who loves me and shakes her head at the lack of compassion her family shows me. When she passes, I doubt I will ever be a reason to hear from any member of my family again. I have my own children and grandchildren, but my immediate family no longer exists.
Now I’m going to go blow my nose and wash my face and take this pile of garbage out to the trash for the last time.
September 2015. Labor Day. I just went back re-read this and thought I’d write a catch up. My entire family and friends are at my older sisters camper at Raystown Lake, so nothing has changed there. Even if they decided I was worthwhile to be around I don’t think it would mean anything to me. Such is life. I also had the surgery on my spine a month ago but it caused complications I’m still healing from. AND 3 weeks ago I started on the new Hepatitis C drug so my fingers are crossed!! And lastly, I bought myself a present. A new keyboard I’m excited. I can record 6 tracks.
. . .and her Buddhist practice. Through many things posts I’ve put up, and conversations I’ve had with people, many people know that I am a Nichiren Buddhist. I don’t slam any other religion because I believe that you can find good teachings in all religions and if someone takes those teachings and applies it to their life and it affects the way they live their life then it is not up to me to say that you are wrong and I am right. I have Christian friends and I post on Christian blogs. We each have to find our path.
Sadly, there are many people who say they are Christian, in the US, and because Christianity is dominant in this country, it makes you feel that it is Christianity is the number one religion in the world. It isn’t. There are many people who are Christian in name only, or only call on God’s help when they are in a dire position, and can still be hateful to the people around them at the same time. What is taught doesn’t change anything about their behavior. They believe in God because it is what they were taught growing up. There wasn’t any choice.
If everyone around you tell you it is true, then you are going to think it is true. I realized at a young age people were told to believe something, but I couldn’t get an answer to the question, “why?” It was always an answer saying because God says so. God says this or that, or wants this or that, and we were to believe something with the credibility of science fiction – in my opinion.
I recently wrote a post https://watchandwhirl.com/2015/02/23/why-do-you-believe-what-you-believe/ I ask people this question a lot, honestly asking why? Is it all you know? Is it what you were taught? Did you follow a different path and then found Christianity? Have you ever seriously looked at any other path with an open mind? If you didn’t, was it because God would punish you for blasphemy? Do you honestly practice the teachings of your faith every day or just sometimes? Is there anyone out there who will answer me?
After searching for years for something that made sense, 27 years ago, when I was 34, I found Nichiren Buddhism. I’m writing about this today because I found 2 minute clip of the Tina Turner movie, “What’s love got to do with it?” If you remember the movie, she turned to Buddhism when her life was at a very low point. She made it out of a very bad and abusive relationship through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
They aren’t magic words that change things – and you aren’t praying/chanting or asking something – out there – to change things for you, or saying that it must be the will of a higher being who wants me to experience this, you realize that it puts you squarely in the drivers seat. You know the only person who can make changes, is yourself. And what your frame of mind is, will directly affect how you respond to things in your life.
I found another clip of Tina Turner, in an interview where she talks about why she is a Buddhist. I thought some of you might find this interesting.