Tonight, I would have attended the Memorial, if my Witness daughter had asked me to go. During the two previous yearly occasions, I was inactive, but I went with her because it seemed to mean a great deal to her. She has either given up on me, or the event does not mean what it once did to her.
I was thinking about another memorial, one I would rather celebrate. My mother would have been 90 today. She was a loyal Jehovah’s Witness to her dying day, in fact the month in which she died, my sister turned in Mom’s final field service report to the congregation. Although I realize many of us forget the faults of dead loved ones, I truly cannot think of anything really bad to say about the woman. She was genuine, kind, funny, honest, intelligent, and had a way of looking right through phony behavior. I think her belief in the teachings of the Watchtower were based on her sincere research into the Scriptures and some of the basic truths she found in the Organization in the early 60’s. I think those were some of the better years among JW’s; before the time of the apostasy paranoia.
She touched many lives, beyond my brother, sister and I, and our children. Her death was mourned by literally hundreds. If I turn out to be half the parent she was, I’ll consider myself fortunate.
However, I find myself wondering how she would have handled recent events. Would it be difficult for her to see her youngest daughter divorce her Witness husband and stop attending meetings? Would she have stood idly by while several elders systematically tormented and finally removed her other son-in-law? Would it have hurt her to see that now none of her children attend a Kingdom Hall? Would the constant changes in “new light” have caused her “phony radar” to go off? Would her vast knowledge of the Scriptures eventually have caused her Cognitive Dissonance?
I’ll be honest: my mother was a far more influential teacher to me than “The Great Teacher” I once read to my children about. Her words and example are more inspiring than any ancient figure who may, or may not, be quoted correctly in sacred writings. (I grew up with this woman and spent a great deal of time with her – yet I doubt that my sister, brother, and I could recall and agree on her exact words during various events in her life. It makes me question how some men who knew Jesus for only a few years and then wrote about him several years after his death could be any more accurate.)
I think I’ll lift a glass of wine to her memory this evening. It was not her favorite beverage. Although she rarely drank, she would shyly accept a cold glass of beer with her fish and chips if she though no one was looking on. But red wine it will be tonight for a woman who deserves to be remembered.
If it turns out there is an afterlife, she’ll be there. I can’t think of anybody more deserving of a resurrection. If so, I hope she understands why I am not on my way to the meeting right now. I hope she knows it is because of what she taught me, not in spite of it.
Regards to all,