I had a phone call today from an old friend and, to be honest, it was one I had been dreading. The lady in question used to be my pioneer partner, we got baptised on the same day, March 26th 1983, and started pioneering at the same time, and have been friends for well over 20 years.
A few years ago Yvonne and her husband Steve left Derby and moved to South Wales, but we have kept in touch, and I have visited them on several occasions, but haven't told them that I am no longer a jw, so when I got the call today I thought she was ringing me about our baptism anniversary, which would have been this Sunday. She had tried ringing my old number, which I am no longer on, and decided to try my mobile. Although I have no regrets about leaving the wts, I must admit to a feeling of trepidation when my mobile rang and I saw who it was ringing. I just couldn't think of any easy way to tell her, so I just blurted it out straight away after she had said hello. There was a brief silence at the other end, and I thought she was going to hang up on me, then she "oh really, when was that?" I told her that I have been out since November, and that though I would always regard her and Steve as two of my best friends, it was ok if they didn't want to see me again. There was another silence, then Steve came on the line and congratulated me! It turns out that they haven't been to a meeting since June last year, don't intend going back, and had only just plucked up the courage to tell me their news! They aren't da'd or df'd, just fading, but it's probably only a matter of time before the elders come after them to ask where they stand as jws.
We had a really good talk after that, and they are going to be in Derby this weekend, thats why Yvonne rang me, so that I would understand if they didn't contact me because of their situation. They asked me if I am still in touch with Trev (dedpoet), and I said very much so since I live with him now, so the four of us are getting together on Saturday for a drink and a meal, and I can't wait. If there were two people that I most wanted to learn the truth about the wts, it would be them. I really love those two, and though they don't live nearby, would have been the two friends I most regretted losing when I left the wts, so finding out that we can still be friends has really made my day, and we'll be celebrating this weekend, but it won't be a baptism anniversary celebration! Dedpoet is very happy for them as well, as he was good friends with them both, but hasn't had any contact with them for a few years since he stopped attending meetings in 1999, and we are both looking forward to a really great weekend. They are on the internet, so hopefully we'll get the chance to introduce them to the board, two more prospective members maybe.