Guilt Without Sin
I don’t really believe in sin. At least not in the literal sense of the word. I do believe that rooting for the Yankees is a sin, as is putting more than one topping on a serving of ice cream. But the idea of a crime against God or nature or the universe or whatever has never seemed plausible to me. That’s not to say that people don’t do bad things. Of course they do. I just think the judgement of those bad things stays firmly in the realm of humans. This probably stems from being raised as a Unitarian Universalist. One nice thing about not believing in sin is that I didn’t inherit a tradition of guilt. The problem is, I’ve been feeling really guilty since the divorce and I’m not equipped to deal with it.
I don’t think I’d want to meet a person who could go through a divorce without any guilt. But, I’ve been carrying a lot, and I don’t know why. I’m sure I did some things wrong during the marriage. But I’m also sure I didn’t do anything crazy bad. I just can’t figure out where this amount of guilt is coming from.
The obvious place to look is my depression. One of the funnest aspects of depression is the way it puts a cover over everything. It could be that I’m just interpreting a general feeling of worthlessness as guilt and it has nothing to do with the divorce (except it was the divorce that triggered this depressive episode.) But another fun aspect of depression is the way it destroys self confidence. So I can’t accept that explanation. No matter what I tell myself, or think I know, I remain convinced that the feeling is real, so I must deserve to be guilty.
The guilt does make me wonder about people who believe divorce is a sin. Could they be on to something? If they are, it would at least explain the guilt. But, I can’t even begin to understand that point of view. How could all divorce be sinful? If one party didn’t want the divorce, is that person sinning by refraining from enslaving the other person? If one party is being abused in the marriage, is it a sin for that person to leave the abuser? But if it isn’t an all or nothing situation, how to tell which divorces are sinful and which aren’t? The only thing that makes any sense to me is that divorce is not sinful in and of itself, if there is any such thing as sin.
So, I don’t know what to do about the guilt. I can’t really confess anything since I don’t know what I’d be confessing. I can’t really apologize since I’m not sure to whom or for what. It looks like I’m stuck with the guilt, for the time being at least. If I’m lucky, I’ll figure out what it is all about. Then, I can deal with it. And if it is the depression, it should shrink down to plain old regrets when I finally come out of it.