Awaiting for Resurrection: Jehovah Witnesses
I always wandered how my life would be without a God. Without the hope that somewhere there is a place to go after, where I could meet again people dear to me or stay in touch with everyday life. I always wandered if I would go crazy without this hope (as sometimes I do when my existentialists thoughts become too heretic). I was born and raised in an atheist culture where religion was prohibited and the government demolished the churches. My school teachers told me about my ape ancestors but my grandmother secretly tough me to believe in God. I studied history who demonstrated me how people have come a long way from neolithic to present days but could not answer the basic questions about how we became Homo Sapience. Through my life experience I learned to doubt but also to hope. So here I am, with my soul wanting to believe, with my mind looking for a logical explanation.
People often wanted to convert me into a true believer. And I always opened my heart to new or renewed experiences only to fall back in my old sin, few months later. I remembered once a colleague of mine told me about her experience with God and how she became a person of faith. She told me astonishing stories about her metamorphosis, some of them almost mystic. I once have experienced my self some form of religious elevation when a priest came to my house and told me that my aura was broken. I took his advise and start showing at church two days a week. When he first invite me to his church he told me that six month later, I'll find my true love and we will come back to him to have his blessing. Well, that really happened but I didn't became a true believer. Rather I though it happened because I was less egocentric and opened my heart to others. Anyway, after my marriage I came in US, Minnesota and got in touch with local Romanian orthodox churches. But my old sin was waiting around the corner. One day I stopped believing and start doubting again. But not for long.
I guess God didn't gave up on me yet. One bright summer day, two ladies knocked on my door. They just wanted to hand me a free magazine with a lot of information. We made small talk for a while, then they left. I look through the magazine. It was small and full of bucolic pictures of happy folks surrounds by trees, flowers and blue sky. There were words about God and his name was Jehovah. I didn't read the magazine but two weeks later the two ladies were back. This time they introduced themselves and asked me if I took a look at the booklet. I said "no" invoking some stupid excuse but they just smiled and told me they know people are busy. They told me God is going to help me and they handed me another magazine, this time telling me what was written inside.
That summer they continued to ring the bell every other week and sometime often. I actually think they made more trips to my house but I wasn't home. They told me they are Jehovah's witnesses and their mission was to tell everybody that resurrection is near. In the autumn we moved inside my home. They came every Wednesday morning. They would walk inside, let their shoes at the door, holding tight little Bible books. The older woman, Vee, had a cane, that she also would let it at the door. We would have little treats and lot of talks about God and Satan, Bible and Apocalypse. They could not convert me though. What intrigued me the most was their belief about resurrection. Their doctrine describes the event as a physical arisen of a dead person from its grave, like Lazarus who was called back by Jesus. And this will happen, the two laddies said, to every dead man, woman and child that had ever lived. I couldn't imagine how a decomposed body could possibly be recomposed to its long lost materiality. And what about the "soul", this unique mix of fillings and emotions that make us ourselves? Well, they could not answer me about that but made sure I understood that God has its way and we are not allowed to know it yet.
By the end of the year, Vee and Rita decided that we have to move on and start reading and studying the Bible from its first pages. I guess they grew tired of my continuous questions and doubts. And for me was clear enough that I had more and deeper issues than they could solve. So, I told them I'm not ready to go farther and we need to stop for a while. In the mean time, I became a full time employee and did not have too much time anymore. Besides, my daughter got frustrated and invariably would ask them if it wasn't yet time for them to live(she was only 4 years old.) Like always, they offer to help me overcome my faith problems but I had to tell them that they cannot do that it because I doubt the authenticity of the Bible itself. They left that Wednesday promising to come back with more reading material for me and few days later they let a little booklet at my door steps. They fallow up with phone calls inquiring about my reading or thoughts. I try not to lie so I told them I'll call them back when I'll be done. And that was it for a while.
Two more years passed. I didn't forgot them but I got busy with little things from everyday life. One day, the older women stop in my store for shopping. She wasn't looking for me, she said, but God, again, has its way. She asked me about the little book she gave me. She said we should read it together. I said nothing and I went back to my work. Few weeks later, I was at the doctor office, desperate for a good result. I felt a very strong desire to pray to God, to ask him for his mercy but as much as I tried, I couldn't do it. Every pray I could think sounded so fake and I didn't want to offend him this way. So I made him a promise: If he has mercy then I'll read the booklet the two ladies let on my steps.
I can only imagine Vee's surprise later when I agree that we should read that book together. At first she came back to my house, Wednesday's morning. This time she would keep her cane closer to the chair and sometime she felt she should keep her shoes on for more stability. Some Wednesday's she would call that she's not coming because she doesn't have a ride (she had to stop driving) then we would read over the phone. Winter came again and her visits became random until one day when she stopped coming at all. I didn't hear from her for a while but I didn't call her back, even I was feeling very guilty. One month later the phone rang and I was relieved to learn that she was well, after being in the hospital for a long time. It took us three more seasons to finish the reading. By the end of the spring, I was the one to do all the out loud reading, which, I noticed, helped me with my English pronunciation. Also, I found out that I had to change my eye glasses because I was having trouble seeing the letters.
I got done with the last pages two Wednesdays ago, and I told her I need time out to think about it. In her grace, Vee said to take as much as I need but did remind me that Satan's day on this world are numbered and the resurrection is near. She murmured a prayer for me and we said Good Bye. Last Wednesday morning it was all mine. But again I underestimated the power of habit. Like when I send my daughter to school, I found my self with an empty place in my morning routine, in my soul, in my mind. I know isn't going to last. The little things of everyday life are going to take over. She will wait at her end of the telephone line for a message from me, her last work of worship before the big resurrection. I deeply wish I could call her one day to tell her I'm a true believer. At my end I'm waiting myself for a sign.
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