Yesterday morning I woke up to an incredibly unexpected text message on my phone. My best friend from before I was disfellowshipped had sent me a really long message. He apologized for the way things had been and told me how much he missed me, and then he told he respected my decision, that he understood and didn't harbor any bad feelings against me for it, that all he wants is for me to be happy.
I responded to his message and told him that if he wanted me to explain my reasons I would, but that we needn't discuss them if he would rather not. I just told him that my door was always open to him and that I would always be there for him if he needed me. Then he asked if he could call. We spent two hours on the phone before I had to leave for my class that morning, it had been two years since we spoke so we had a lot to discuss, but in another way, it felt as if we had just spoken the day before. We talked about all the things we had been through in the last year. He told me that it was better that I didn't go back to the religion if I didn't really believe it and he respected me more for holding true to my integrity and not coming back just because I missed people. He told me how proud he was of me for going to college and trying to work to make the world a better place, and he saw the merit of my doing this an agnostic simply because I think its the right thing to do, not because I'm looking forward to some supposed reward. He realized that his friendship with someone needed to be based on more than just sharing religious beliefs with someone. He realized that withholding your friendship from someone to "motivate them to return to Jehovah" wasn't right and didn't produce good results. He wants to have a relationship with me again and keep in touch even though I'm not a Jehovah's Witness anymore and have no intention of becoming one ever again.
I found myself a true friend who has given me unconditional love and support. It took awhile for it happen because he had everything he was taught from the time he was a kid and the advice of his parents working against it, but he got there. I've basically been smiling for the past two days because I finally got my best friend back and I never thought it would happen. He's still a Jehovah's Witness, and he's not really telling anyone except his fiance, which I understand, he still has a lot to lose, but this is so much better than what I had before.