Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I have a fascination with coincidences. I think we all do. Random chance events lend a seemingly mystic quality to our lives. While I don't subscribe to placing elaborate meaning on coincidences I do notice them when they happen and they make me smile, if for no other reason than how utterly random things can be.

Case in point: this past Saturday (yes, the same day as what will come to be known as Bible Re-shelving Day...which incidentally, or coincidentally, was not a day I was supposed to be working...I don't usually work Saturdays) I woke with thoughts of people from my past life as a jw. I often think of the friends I left behind. But this was different. Into my brain popped one of the elders from my earliest jw congregation, a man I haven't seen in over a decade and have barely thought about. I remembered that he was an adult convert and that he was a pretty decent guy. I wondered about where he was now and how he was doing.

So, later Saturday night, after all the Bibles had been safely returned to their nesting place, I'm walking the floor and who comes strolling up the escalator? This elder. At first I do a double-take because I'm really stunned. Then, when I realize it is indeed him; same face, just a lot more grey hair, I smile. I'm tempted to say something, ask him how he is, what he's doing now. Really I just want to ask him if he's still in the cult. But I don't. No matter how much distance I get from the whole jw experience there is still the glaring realization that anyone still a jw will shun me once they find out I'm no longer one of them. And I know that inevitably the conversation will roll around to that.

So, what can I say? I'm a coward who doesn't feel like getting rejected in the middle of her workday. So, I said nothing.

Now, the rational part of me realizes that I think of lots of people each day and they don't all turn up at my workplace. If they did, I'd be spending a lot less time thinking of the ex and a lot more time thinking about Harrison Ford. But the intuitive parts of myself really wonder about this kind of stuff. I mean, what are the odds of him appearing on my life's stage on the same day I thought of him, in a city of over 4 million people, on a night I wasn't supposed to be working? Oh well, it is what it is.

tall penguin


matt said...

clearly it was a magical circumstance where your mind willed it to be. XD

you know whats just as hard as that? a jw you really respected dies, and you feel the need to go to their funeral -- at the kingdom hall -- the kind of bravery needed is unsurmountable. yet I did it anyway, and boy did I get a lot of shit for it. people literally screamed at me for leaving. neat.

i go to comfort those who lost their friend and father, and they backlash at me for leaving. that's religion in a nutshell. :)

tall penguin said...

Hey matt,

I'm so glad we've connected here in blogland. I love your comments and appreciate you sharing your experience. I don't think most people get what it's like to leave a cult.

I am dreading the first jw funeral that I feel I must attend. When I first left, I vowed to never step foot in a kingdom hall again, but I realize that it's probably inevitable. Just hearing that smug memorial talk will give me the willies for weeks. Sigh.

But good on you for braving it anyways. Your display of love and support is in no way diminished by a bunch of people who can't see beyond their own worldview.

Vanessa said...

I prefer the term "synchronicity"... but you know me.

A patient showed me his new tattoo today. You know what it said?

"It is what it is"

How's that for synchronicity?

tall penguin said...

Thanks for sharing that Vanessa. I'm curious to know more about this tat since I'm considering one. Was it in Latin or English? Was there a symbol? Tell me more please. What a great thing to be reminded of each day.

It is what it is. Yup.

Paul said...

I read somewhere - now where was that? - the the great Penn Jillette once said that million to one coincidences happen eight times a day in New York. I guess they happen at least four times a day here in TO.

tall penguin said...

Yes, it's a great quote paul. Must remember that. Doesn't keep me from smiling when it happens though.