My family and I stopped being active witnesses some 3 and a half years ago. We did the fade thing, thus we are neither DA’s nor DF. Before we stopped, I served as an elder. The past four years we’ve been celebrating christmas. We’ve had christmas decorations, including a tree the past three years. My family has accepted our fading nicely, I must say. I do not confront them with my opinions, and they do not interfere with my new way of life. Thus, some aspects of our lives, are simplye not discussed, e.g. Christmas. Today, I was sleeping on the couch, when my daughter suddenly wakes me up, stating that my sister and her sons are standing outside, making a unexpected visit. At first I sort of panicked, realizing I could not hide the decorations. The panic lasted only for a few seconds though. Then I hugged my sister in the entrance, and she smiled as she always does. I guess she was sort of mentally prepared that we celebrate christmas, and that she had prepared her sons as well, because there was no comment or reactions whatsoever. I guess I was the nervous one, wandering about and chatting unstoppingly for some minutes... Now, her two sons are falling to sleep in the christmas decorated house of her «astrayed» brother. Looking back, I think it is just ok that she has seen it, and accepting it in such a gracious way. I guess one reason is that we respect each other lives. She has chosen not be told details for me abandoning our previous common beliefs and I have respected that. I guess she’ll just keep it to herself what she saw, unless she is being directly asked by our JW parents. Just wanted to share it. A happy new year to all of you.
An unexpected visit
Your sister seems to be a very moderate and reasonable JW unlike the very fanatical relatives, totally obedient to the FDS, that we hear about on this forum. That's nice to hear.
Your sister IMO is an exception to the rule.
I'm happy for you. It sounds like your sister has decided to be an individual, and to accept you as such also. If only we could all have the same experience.
To anyone that never lived the JW life, it would seem strange that it was such an issue to you. But for those of us that have lived it, it's amazing that things went so well. I'm happy for you that your sister is a human first and a JW second. Congrats! Thanks for sharing this hopeful and encouraging story!
There was no hint that perhaps your sister is falling away also?
What ever it is good that you both can still love one another.
Well said Dave.
I can remember the emotions that I felt the first few years of celebrating xmas when my JW mother came around. Unless you've been there you can't understand. I'm glad to hear that things seem well with your sister and her family.
This illustrates a point that seems to be lost on some members of this board: Not all JWs follow the dictates of the Society in every matter of their lives.
When I first became a Witness, I couldn't understand why some people I looked to as "strong in the truth" seemed to skirt some of the JW rules, or outright contradict them. For example, I knew many who had regular involvement with DF'd relatives living outside the household, including elders and pioneers. I know an elder and his family on the east coast who have celebrated birthdays for years (it is a poorly kept secret in his congregation, yet he continues to serve as an elder). I know another elder who has occasionaly paid for massages complete with happy endings.
In my mind I always thought: Why remain as a JW if you're faith is not strong enough to motivate you to follow the moral code? In other words, when I believed it was "the truth," I lived it. When I realized it wasn't the truth, I got out.
I've occasionally discussed this with my fleshly brother (still a nominal JW) and his take on it is the following: Many JWs who are decent, reasonable people, end up finding a balance between JW rules and the realities of living in this world and having real relationships with the people around them. Most still believe that the basic fundamentals of the faith are true, but feel that a lot of the rest should be "conscience matters" that are no one's business but their own.
Others may even doubt the "truth" entirely, but their families are JWs, their friends are JWs, their entire life is enmeshed with JWs--and they simply decide that leaving is not worth the turmoil and fallout that would ensue. Hence they go through the motions but privately do as they please.
I have the same approach as your brother:
Many JWs who are decent, reasonable people, end up finding a balance between JW rules and the realities of living in this world and having real relationships with the people around them. Most still believe that the basic fundamentals of the faith are true, but feel that a lot of the rest should be "conscience matters" that are no one's business but their own.
and my reason for not leaving:
... families are JWs... and they simply decide that leaving is not worth the turmoil and fallout that would ensue.
Nice to see she was good about it all.