"Remember all the movies, Terry, we'd go see
Trying to learn how to walk like heroes we thought we had to be
And after all this time to find we're just like all the rest
Stranded in the park and forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets"
~ Bruce Springsteen "Backstreets"
It's been almost 13 years now that I've lost my best friend. He was the closest thing I've ever had to a brother and not a day goes by that I don't think about him. He's gone. But I didn't lose him to cancer. I didn't lose him in a car accident. He didn't die in Iraq.
13 years ago he was disfellowshipped. 13 years ago he called me one last time to say goodbye and that due to his banishment, I wouldn't probably not be seeing him around anymore. I still remember that phone call and how the house looked dark and Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" was playing on the radio in the backroom. In the background Dylan wailed, "How does it feeeelllll?" Pretty lousy, Bob.
At that time in my life, while I didn't really believe the entire Jehovah's Witnesses brand of faith, I didn't really make any kind of stand for what was right. Perhaps I just was naive. Perhaps I was too worried about my own skin. It was never a matter of "doing what was right", but it was really no different than my situation now. I have too much to lose family wise and I just can't do it at this time.
I wonder what happened to him. I hope that he's okay and I hope that he's happy. I never pictured him as gone in the sense that the WTBS views him as such. He's not dead. He's out there and he's got his freedom, for better or worse. In a world without the Watchtower & Bible Tract Society, we would have never had to say goodbye. As Red sadly stated in Shawshank, "I guess I just miss my friend."
This Memorial Day Weekend, let's take time to reflect on those who we've lost because of blatently unfair religious differences. Let's remember the families who have been torn apart because a publishing company decided that this barbaric practice somehow equals God justice. Think of the friends who've had to say goodbye and the hearts that have been broken. Many of you have endured unspeakable suffering to win your freedom and peace of mind.
And I'll drink to that, my friends.
Joe, I hope that you're okay tonight and you've got scotch in your glass, brother.