As this fiftieth summer of my life rolls on towards it’s end, so many past events as a JW crop up. Earlier this month as I walked past the Memorial Coliseum in Portland on my way to a photo shoot, I witnessed an event I used to take part in yearly during the summer months, that of the conventions held there and in various parts of the world. There were many things I noticed while moving past this mass of people in their way to three days of sitting, unending talks and indoctrination.
Not one of them had a smile. Nothing but a blank stare and look of complete indifference. Was I like that back then? There was no joy nor positive part of this and it really hit me this time as I gazed with a different set of eyes. Did I have that look as I went about the daily routine of being a Jehovah’s Witness, leading a life dedicated more to a machine and society of fear than to one of quiet joy and contemplation, worship? I would hope that I didn’t . Still, as I search my memory banks back to those years of such gatherings, it is apparent that I did not have the joy I have now.
This hindsight is a positive part of my memory that I treasure each day as I contemplate where I am now. Those conventions with thousands of people were not something I looked forward to year after year. Sure, there were a few exceptions to that: looking over some of the beautiful women and handsome men made the gathering a bit more tolerable as I developed fantasies that would have been completely forbidden had they been seen. Fortunately, they couldn’t know what I was thinking and the Mind Police were among those departments they did not possess. Yet within those masses of people , how many were like me? Wanting out, not happy, disillusioned. I bet quite a few as the faces I knew over the years have disappeared and many are like me, free of the restraints we were shackled with many years back.
At this point in the journey past these folks attending their convention, I started to smile back at them in hopes of gaining at least one back. None.
That truly spoke volumes to me and I hope that never ever again in my life do I become such a soulless, distant face in the crowd like that. I’m sure that there are some happy JW’s somewhere on this planet. For the life of me, I cannot see how or why with the restrictions on them as well as hypocrisy within the ranks and hierarchy. Perhaps it is that still extant promise of a new world that has been promised for almost a hundred years as “right around the corner” that keeps them gong year after year as they waste their days doing things they just don’t enjoy. Very rarely in my 35+ years did I ever hear another say they truly enjoyed being part of that. So, why do it? Ah, yes…salvation.
But, should one sacrifice a life here of up to one hundred years for the POSSIBILITY of a future paradise? ( even they admit ” one MIGHT be concealed in the day of God’s anger”) Apparently some are OK with that gamble and while said vice is forbidden (gambling) , if it fits their viewpoint, exceptions are made. Simply unacceptable to me and goes completely against what the Creator has given to us. Life. Enjoy it, be kind, love one another and yourself. That…is why we are here. ❤ ❤ ❤