Someting happened yesterday that I thought might be noteworty enough to relate to you here.
Mrs. EYZ and I were invited to my new Boss's home for his annual end of summer party. It's a pretty big deal....his is a name known locally (I'll call him J.R.) a really nice interesting guy who's held a number of high level and politically connected Jobs. There was to be music, dancing, wine and reprotedly lots of well dressed, well educated, well to do and influential people (oh yes...and us) in attendance.
Anyway we thought we'd make an occasion out of it and got ourselves spiffed up which involved new outfits and extra mirror time before we left home. It was one of those all too rare summer evenings when the planets were aligned just right and time and space came together in such a way that we both felt like a Million Dollars and looked pretty spiffy too (yes, even me).
On the way there, I needed to stop at the Home Depot before they closed so I could pick up some caulk I was going to need the next day for a household project I'm finishing up. From the looks I was getting when I walked in to the door, I could tell I was way too dressed up to be in a hardware store. I was in the paint section reading the label on the tube of caulk I had selected when I noticed in my peripheral vision that some people who had been coming down the asile suddenly stopped in their tracks and were making some abrupt movements. I looked up briefly and saw that they had sort of frozen in place and were looking at me kind of funny. It didn't register with me who they were at first, I figured they were only looking at me, because I was looking at them or perhaps they were just more shoppers admiring my dashing new outfit . (gag)
Anyway a second later it dawned on me that these shoppers were actually some former longtime freinds from the Hall we used to attend. They were with their daughter (20 ish) who is now a Pioneer. This couple were among the many who stopped calling, emailing us or inviting us over after we simply and quietly stopped going to meetings. He is an Elder by the way, and if you remember our story it took three years before any of the Elders or (anyone else) came looking for us after that "perfect storm" of events which caused us to walk away from the organization for good.
These old friends realized that I had recognized them and looked really uncomfortable at the prospect of having to pass by me in the aisle. Maybe it was only because they were kind of grubby and in their yard work clothes and didn't want to see anyone they knew but I really got a sense that it was more about them deciding if they should lower themselves to talk to me, a fallen away JW who deserved to be shunned. As they got closer I glanced their way and smiled but didn't say anything, just continued on reading the label. They were the first to speak and from their tone of voice, body language and knowing them as I do, I sensed that they had decided they'd speak out of Christian politeness but it would have to be a limited conversation since rules are rules and they as JW's are the ones to call the shots in these situations.
They said Hi and asked how Mrs. XYZ was doing. I turned part way toward them still reading the label and here's how the rest of the conversation went. ( It was a brief conversation, I was calm and kind but I still can't beleive I did this)
Me: (in a vague sort of tone while reading the label) Oh...she's really good... she's acutally out in the car waiting for me.....I just needed to pop in here for a minute on our way...I'm going to need this tomorrow. (held up caulk) I'm finishing up the remodel on our house.
Them: Oh...where are you guys headed?
Me: (hesitating, deciding whether or not to continue the conversation) Um...well...we're headed over to my Boss "J.R. So and So's" place for his end of summer party .
Them: Oh...hmmm. (I got this job a few months after we faded...best job I've ever had and I saw that they recognized my bosses name)
Me: (Sigh) Hey... before I go on, I'm assuming you guys are still JW's...right ?
Them: Well yeah (sounding surprised that I'd even ask)
Me: (sigh) Look...we're were old friends and I hate to be this way but no one so much as called or even bothered to see how we were doing once T (our son) was unfairly disfellowshipped and diagnosed with Cancer a few weeks later. You knew about it and yet you and everyone else shunned him and shunned us for helping him and you left us alone to get him through his surgery and chemo. Thank goodness he survived and thank goodness for our worldly coworkers who offered us support.
I understand the JWs reasons for why it happened that way but as long as you contunue to be part an organization that not only condones this kind of treatment of it's members but whose prophecies about the future,since way back in the 1800's have been 100 percent false and who covers up for it's pedophyles and misleads the public about who they really are...
(I started stepping backwards away from them and just before I turned and walked away I said) " I can't in good conscience stand here and have a conversation with you as if there's nothing wrong and as if things are the same between us".
I took my tube of caulk and walked away. I didn't even look back, just went to the cash register and paid. When I got to the car I must have looked dazed because Mrs. XYZ asked me what was wrong. I started the car and drove off . Once we were underway, I told her what I'd done. She gasped and covered he mouth and broke out laughing....we both did. She said "Oh well....too bad for them....you just told it like it is..."
We had a nice normal evening....felt completly at ease with all these supposed high flyers who in reality turned out to be just regular folks. We met a nice couple who are opening a brewery/restaurant in the City and invited us to the opening. They brought Kegs of the different kinds of unusual beers they make, for everyone to sample.
As I stood there that evening looking at all these people having a nice time for themselves, I wondered if any one of them would ever understand the bizarre interaction I had at the Home Depot earlier that evening.
Best story ever! The way a lot of JWs act is completely unethical and they deserve to be called out and shown they don't have any moral high ground. Glad your son got better too!
PS How is your dear son doing now?
I love the way you handled the situation! Great job!
(Although I still don't get why they shun the way they do, they have twisted scripture to fit their ideas)
Hope your son is doing well!
That was awesome EYZ!
EXCELLENT!!! Talk about succinct! You got everything in there, i love it.
I wonder what the conversation was in their car on the way home...
Loved. Every. Word.
GT. Yes indeed.
Yes shunning has two edges!
Loved! Absolutely brilliant.