I need your counsel on a personal matter, and I hope you will give it in love. As some of you know, I was disfellowshipped six years ago, but it wasn't until June 2010 that I made up my mind never to return to the WTS. I left many dear friends behind. Of course, most have never spoken to me again, and since that is their decision I have accepted it. There is one exception, however, and it is that case on which I desire your advice.
In my thirty years' association with Jehovah's Witnesses I had some very close friends. Of the two closest, one is dead. He killed himself 25 years ago but I have never really recovered from that. The other is still very much alive. Last year, I had a mutual friend contact him to sound him out about his feelings. This contact told me that my friend was suffering many things, but that he still had very strong feelings about our friendship. I passed my phone number along to him, but he has never called. I grieved for some months but then decided to let him go.
Now, however, I have been rethinking that decision and want to try to salvage our friendship--if it can be salvaged, that is. So through another Witness friend that we both know, I am reaching out again. I think that there is still a strong desire on his part to renew ties but he is afraid of the repercussions if his efforts to do so become known. I want to talk to him briefly on the phone first and then set up a meeting in some out-of-the-way venue where we can talk freely and anonymously without other Witnesses reporting him since nobody would know and recognize either of us.
Where I need your help is exactly how should I propose this if we do talk on the phone? I want to be as kind and gentle as I can since the situation is very delicate and my friend's psyche right now is quite fragile. Maybe I shouldn't be doing this at all. Maybe, since he hasn't responded to my previous effort to get back together, I should simply write him off. But of all the Witnesses I have ever known save for the friend who is now dead, this man is the closest friend I have ever had. I loved him as much as I loved my fleshly family, and we had traveled very far on life's road together through thick and thin, good and evil, life and death. I don't want to turn my back on him unless and until he makes it clear that he wants nothing more to do with me.
Am I right in pursuing this still or am I trying to squeeze water out of a stone? And if my friend does agree to meet, how should I proceed? I am at a loss, so I am reaching out to the board here as well as to other people I know. "There is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk, but in the multitude of counselors there is accomplishment," reads Proverbs 15:22. I need your help, and I look forward to your replies.