Life is hilarious. I had just posted my last entry when my msn started blinking. It is a wonderful woman who used to be one of my ESL students many years ago. I met her because one of the women in my former Jehovah's Witness congregation ran a student home for international students. I ended up teaching this woman English and then she expressed an interest in learning about the Bible from me, so I taught her the jw version of things and she was quite interested. When I left the jw's, I had a conversation with her about my leaving and did my fear-based warning thing along with telling her about shunning and how the jw community was now treating me. That was 3 years ago and we've barely spoken much since.
So I see my msn blinking and see this young woman, my former ESL student and jw Bible student, saying hello. And then this:
"Guess what?" she says.
"I'm studying Bible."
She asks me why I stopped believing in the Bible. And I said, "I did research on the history and saw it to be a book of stories...some beautiful stories but still stories. I don't believe that there is any god outside of the god that you already are."
I try to ask if she's studying any particular religion's view of the Bible and she evades the question. Finally, I ask...
"Is your friend a Jehovah's Witness?"
"Yes, she is."
And I smile. I saw this coming. And there was no angst. There was just love. There was this complete acceptance of her journey. She said she wants answers to her questions. I said, "well I would invite you to do some research on both the origins of the bible and the origins of the jehovah's witness movement...not from their books though...the history is not accurate...other than that I wish you well."
And that was it. We moved along to other things.
I find this interesting for a few reasons.
1. The primary charge around all the jw stuff has dissipated greatly for me. I no longer feel responsible for saving anyone from them. This woman is an adult. It is her life. She is free to choose.
2. I think people gravitate towards religion for so many different reasons. This woman wants "answers to her questions". My mother was the same. And it seems that regardless of what I say to her, she wants to find those answers within the particular box of the jw view. So be it.
3. I often wonder whether people become enamored with the person that first contacts them with a religion/cult. That family connection thing. I remember studying the Bible as a jw with a young girl, around 9 years old, and she said she wanted to be just like me when she grew up. She said she wanted to be a jw, but I think she really meant she wanted to be like me, wanted to give people the feeling I gave her, which had little to do with my being a jw. But, at her age, she could not know that. I hope she can differentiate it later in life.
I think too of my father who converted many years after my mother because of the difference he thought the religion was making in my mother's personality. Frankly, it could've been therapy or the new friends or a medication that made the difference and he probably wouldn't have jumped into those things, but somehow he thought the religion was making the difference and devoted himself to it as a result. In hindsight, I think he would admit that my mother's personality isn't all that different after all, that the religion just gave her some tools to suppress things ever deeper, and appear happier than she really was. But I digress. That's my judgment, not his.
Hahaha....this woman just popped back online saying that she's going to start studying English again too. She said, "and when I study English, I usually think about you because we had a good time when we studied English together." Wasn't that the point I was just making? Sometimes we confuse the message and messenger and accept one because we accept the other.
All very funny. Life living itself. And so it is.