This phrase has been going through my mind over and over for the past few days and finally made its way out onto paper, and then here.
As my beloved grandmother, a "faithful witness of Jehovah" has hovered between living and dying for the past few weeks now, I have asked myself again and again what is the justice in her surviving all the things that she has in her 80+ years to come to the end of her faithful service only to be another casualty of the JW policy on blood.
I think about the fact that for almost sixty of those 80+ years she has lived and would have died at any point for her faith in the "faithful and discreet slave." That she has given everything to everyone, she and my (elder at the time of his death) grandfather literally saved many families from losing their houses, health insurance, cars, and who knows what else by making payments to help a family out. And no one knew about it until we found letters in my grandfather's belongings after his death thanking them for being there for so many. Made me wonder how they paid their own bills on their modest income.
Now, my grandmother lies in a bed far away from me, slowly bleeding to death not only because of the blood policy but also because of some plain stupid decisions by my JW relatives. Decisions over which I have no damned say at all. I keep asking myself, "This is her reward?"
I find myself wondering though if in all her years, did she ever really live? She has loved and been loved by many, but there were so many hardships and sorrows that didn't need to be part of her life, especially toward the end, brought to you by the tender loving care of the Watchtower B*****it Society.
I think about my entire family, about what many of their lives have become and I can't stand to see the wasted years. Forget my being shunned and what that has cost me and my child in the past several years as far as family love and comfort; I'm thinking of the career I might have had, the gifts that my sisters and cousins have let rot because it was more important to go spread the ferta...er, good news. Because you know, Armageddon is right around that eternal corner.
I look at my mother. She is getting old now, she is miserable, and questioning every single aspect of her faith. I know that she won't ever conciously leave the organization. A lot of people have left but they often lost years of their lives, just as I did, sticking it out, 'waiting on jehovah' and hoping that the big Happy Ending was going to come today, or at least tomorrow.
My mother bitterly laments the fact that she was 'never supposed to get old in this system." She says that not only were she and my father told not to marry and have children back in the 50's because the end was "so near" that now not only is she a grandmother but some of her children are old enough to be grandparents themselves. She keeps asking how this can possibly be. I can't tell her that it's because she's been had. So I will say it here. To all of you who are clinging to the Prize, do your homework. Seriously research what you have been taught, because
I have sad news for you folks. Armageddon? Yeah, it ain't coming. And the meter is running on your life. Every day (and this may sound morbid) none of us know what is going to happen. Don't die knowing that you never really lived.
Live now. Don't waste another day. If you love someone, tell them. If you need to move up, move out, or move on, do it.
I feel lucky that I got out during my twenties, with the ability now to salvage, hopefully, my daughter's entire upbringing for the most part. She has a range of choices that were never, ever even presented to me as possible when I was a child.
I know that where I've been makes me who I am. I just wish that I could impress upon my family that wasting time is a serious mistake; you can't ever get it back.
Once grandma is gone, I wonder if the theocratic stranglehold on the family will loosen a little. I don't hold out hope that the majority of the family will ever be free, or even that my elder's wife sister will ever speak to me again.
But some small part of me still hopes that one day, the phone will ring, and I will recognize a voice on the other end, maybe an old friend, or a relative, and I'll hear the most beautiful three words...
"I got out."
Live, people. Live. Life is too short.
edited to remove profanity...