Winter is a notoriously bittersweet time for me to hibernate and contemplate my life. During this season, I meditate more than usual. As well, I often curl up on the couch with a blanket, and do a lot of reading. I’ve read two books since Christmas, and I’m in the process of reading two more. Plus I have two more books in cue. Next thing I know, it will be spring.
While delving into The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller, I’m facing my own various heartaches. I especially resonated with several points in chapter eight of the book. Sorrow is described as having the potential to be a fearful thing to contemplate, but bear with me here, because it brought me to a new place in viewing my own lifetime of religiously-induced grief.
I came to realize that my grief, that of being treated as dead even while alive, might never end in this lifetime. I don’t think it could end, unless my children leave the the family’s religious cult. Even if I were to go back to the Watchtower religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’d keep grieving — maybe even worse! My soul would grieve my betrayal of Self. Don’t worry, soul. I’ll not ever go back. I just couldn’t do that to my Self.
Sadly, the possibility of my children leaving the religion is slim, knowing the hold the cult has on it’s members. Then again, if I was able to extricate myself from that religion, they could too, when and if their soul called them to do so. Any sign of softening their rigid stand is yet to be sensed by me.
Softening the Grief
That being said, reading this book softens my grief into a tender melancholy. This sadness will be an ongoing reminder of my bittersweet time of unrequited love for my children. Both my adult son and daughter shun me because I left the family religion. “We can’t speak to you unless you come back to Jehovah,” is the religious rule, spoken by rote via shunners, time and again.
During my meditations, an insight came as a surprise to me. My personal anguish actually keeps my children in my world. Curiously, I still see them in my dream-time. They don’t shun me there! My night world has become a sacred time of darkness and mystery. I have befriended the blackness. I am open to it helping me to let go of the physical world and safely associate with my beloved children. There is where I realize my own vulnerability and mortality. With this new perspective I am able to examine the way I am living the life I have right now now.
I realize that life with my children in the physical is impossible at this time. I remind myself that many years have gone by since I last knew them in their later teen years. They’re not the same loving children anymore. They are hardened by severe religious indoctrination and the order to shun me.
Even if they were to leave the religion, I’d need to exercise caution while they deconstruct their beliefs, as well as purge the harmful and hateful beliefs in which they were indoctrinated. Until that happens, I am truly grateful for the ever-deepening love I experience with my beloved partner. He is the most empathetic person I’ve ever met, or have the privilege to know and love. If I had stayed in the family religion, I would have missed out on the greatest love of my life. I am in my new space because that is where I choose to live. It’s the one and only place I wish to be.
Life Analysis A Bittersweet Time
I get to analyse my Self and my life’s circumstances at night while I lay awake. At these times, I might bask in the pitch-black room. Or I may turn on the light and start journal-writing. I ponder the questions: because my children shun me, am I actively participating in my life in the present, or am I looking back too much? Am I keeping myself immune to the ways this life can touch and change me — not in spite of but — because I’m being shunned?
Do things ever stay the same? No. Circumstances change all the time, don’t they? Friendships end, a job is deleted, an accident happens, health concerns arise, someone dies.
Do we choose to live small to protect ourselves from these unknowns? Or do we willingly release something we’ve outgrown, so as to enter a larger encounter with being alive?
Sometimes our soul asks us to shed our old life — a death of sorts — for something better. Perhaps my soul aches to touch this bittersweet time and place. It seems loss and grief have the potential to initiate me into more fully enveloping myself into my amazing world. I bless my opportunity to be alive. I don’t want to live a half-life. Instead, I wish to embrace my life fully, including the entire range of feelings and emotions. Yes, even the less pleasant ones such as grief and sorrow. Even the ones that challenge me to my core.
Now, I think of life without my old false friends and judgmental family members as pruning dead branches off a tree. My tree of life will be healthier if I attend to this vital task. It will appear more attractive, as well. New shoots might sprout from those pruned spaces.
When I finally do leave this world, I wish to have lived all of my dreams. To disengage by cowering into an un-lived life might yield perhaps the deepest grief I would never wish to encounter!
My soul yearns to love, to dance, to write, to paint, to draw, to plant my garden, to watch it grow, to harvest it, to create and play music. Sometimes, I wake up with music in my head. I sing it into my recorder, so that I might do something with it. I write out the scales, then add new layers. Sometimes I even receive lyrics with the tune.
So if you so wish, my dear friends, feel free to share what your dreams are about, for this life.
Getting Disfellowshipped My personal story of how I got disfellowshipped (includes YouTube video).
Kill the Apostates! Jehovah’s Witnesses consider themselves a “moderate” religion. However, what follows is an excerpt from their Watchtower magazine, which reveals a truth about them that they might not wish to discuss when they ring your doorbell.
Kindness of Strangers Finding a sense of acceptance after being disfellowshipped.
Hearts of Stone My Jehovah’s Witness elder/brother sent me a photo of my son and my granddaughter after twelve years of nothing. By any chance, does this look like shunning? (Includes YouTube video)
Shun Don’t Shun The Jehovah’s Witnesses do flip-flops on their theology. It is an “on-and-off” system of belief when it comes to the issue of disfellowshipping/shunning members they judge as “sinners.”
Shunning Mom I never would have imagined that by the end of a week-long visit with my beloved mother that I would be shunning her (includes YouTube video).
Shunning Ex-Members a Religious Rule Just when I thought all had been said that could be said about the subject of disfellowshipping and shunning — I’m wrong again!
Mind Control of Religion The act of shunning is a mind-control tool of religion to prevent members from listening to ex-members. Religious elders attempt to prevent members from finding out the truth about why some stop believing.
Religion is Manipulative Secular authorities appear to know little about how religions operate, using manipulation.
View Bittersweet Time on YouTube.
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