Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree and Rising.
You know how things from the past suddenly bubble up when least expected? Things youâ€™ve long ago forgotten but they surface at the exact moment when it all makes sense?
In the shower today, I got an unexpected flash of something from almost two years ago. I have not once thought about this since then.
I was standing there, all over again, in Jeaneenâ€™s kitchen while she was in the next room. I was reading a text message meant to soothe me, though it rather gently admonished me for kicking myself and basically for the Southern Baptist self-flagellation techniques from my past.
I had said something completely from the heart, completely within my ethics, in all earnestness and adoration. I had no ideaâ€”quite the opposite at the timeâ€”when I said it that it would infringe on someone elseâ€™s ethical code. There are things in my Government career that other career fields consider ludicrous when it comes to ethical behavior, but it is so ingrained that I cannot act otherwise. And there are things in othersâ€™ career fields that seem just as ludicrous to me. I didnâ€™t know and I didnâ€™t mean to put anyone else in a situation of ethical struggle.
Worse, I didnâ€™t want anyone else to think I wasnâ€™t ethical just because I didnâ€™t have the same frame of reference in my career path and I beat myself up over it mercilessly for the next couple of weeks.
So in the shower today, I took a sudden step back in time and re-read that text message in my hand that night where I was told to stop getting pulled under by the guilt of my former spirituality, to stop beating myself up, that I was still believed in.
And then, â€œYou donâ€™t get to be a high priestess without a high level of integrity. Itâ€™s because youâ€™re different that I like and respect you.â€
Iâ€™d felt better then. Iâ€™d stopped beating myself up over the fear that Iâ€™d be thought unethical for something earnestly said. I knew I was being soothed with the references to high priestesses having integrity.
Itâ€™s only now that I think about it. The message was wrong. There are indeed women who become high priestesses without a high level of integrity. Though it is my ideal, it just isnâ€™t necessarily so of every high priestess out there.
This is something Iâ€™ve known for several years though Iâ€™ve not really thought about it. But for someone who believes this, really believes this, Gods, what a path to ruin that would be!