I am so very angry and disappointed in my friend. You could say friend. Though I am certain that after seventeen years he is no longer going to be one. This is my story of him, not his story. It is not about religion, not really, though it is a part of it. For me it is about a person’s character, being honest about who you are rather than trying to pretend to the world you are someone different. It’s about my friend being a double heart.
I met Max when I was fresh out of school and working my first office job. He was one of my customers. Always charismatic and flirtatious, but married and the same age as my father so that was where it ended. We got along well and went for lunch, drinks, and the scattered game of snooker over the years. Even after I left that job and he moved on to different businesses we continued to stay in touch.
That is until he fell off the face of the earth back in 2005. Turns out he is a bit of a reactionary and pulled a splitserooni on his family life in Toronto. He got up one morning, said good-bye to his wife and daughter then headed to the office as usual. Once there he called a cab and off to the airport to catch the next flight to California. Just him, his briefcase, and a bag. Not a word to anyone.
One day, over five years later, I received a message from him on a social media site, completely out of the blue. It was so nice to be back in touch with my old friend. He had come back to Canada after the death of his Mother. We reconnected and he told me all about his years back in California and why he up and left that day. He soon got a sales job but had a hard time making it work. This spring he was still struggling with it and had not been able to make any headway in reconnecting with his daughter.
I understood his leaving, at least I did from what he told me about it. I also understood his daughter not wanting to have anything to do with him after completely abandoning her for five years. To one day up and leave, and her knowing that he chose to just walk away from her, I wouldn’t be eager to have a relationship with him again either. He is the one that needed to work at that, but he didn’t.
Earlier this year I received an email message from Max indicating that he was going to “pull an Abraham.” I had no idea what that meant until I continued to read his message. In essence he had quit his job, gave up his apartment, and was about to embark on a journey witnessing to people at marinas. People who lived on their boats, or did for much of the year at least, and did not have anyone witnessing to them. (My words or phrasing may not be exactly right as I am not a Jehovah’s Witness. I do know a little about it, as I do a lot of religions, but I do not subscribe to any of them.) He was adamant that he wasn’t crazy and no authorities need be called to come take him away to a psychiatric facility.
What I found odd was, not the fact that he was going to be doing this, but that I had known him for seventeen years and had absolutely no idea he was a Jehovah’s Witness. My understanding, and this may be flawed, but my understanding is that you are required, in essence, to share their beliefs, to go out and spread the word of Jehovah to others. In all these years I have known him, Max has never once said a word to me about religion in any sense. He never said he was a Witness. He never asked me if I had a relationship with God or what my beliefs were.
Early last month I received another crazy email from Max. This time he talked about how he had gotten several fines for not wearing a seatbelt, not having his truck properly licensed, and failing to have any insurance on it. (After being back in Canada for more than two years his truck still had California plates.) He said he had gone to court to fight the tickets and a “redneck” judge told him that he is in Canada now and he needs to follow the law, that the charges against him could result in a very hefty fine, and that he should get a lawyer and return to court at a the end of the month.
Seems Max didn’t like that and he was planning on bailing on the whole thing and crossing the border back into the United States on the day before his next court appearance. He was running again! I couldn’t believe it. Over some driving fines? I asked him if he was seriously bailing again. His response was this: “Let me ask you a question. If you could be faced by a red-neck court judge that has the ability to charge you with a fine five times more than what is in your savings account, where would you be on the day of court? More importantly, how is your study in the bible coming?”
For me that isn’t even a question. I’d be in court. Simple. If I broke the law, regardless of what my understanding of the law was, I would own up to it and deal with whatever the consequence was. Seeing I’ve got practically nothing in my savings account any fines levied would be more than what I have. My fault, my problem to deal with. Running away won’t fix it. Besides, this is my home, I don’t have another one in another country to run away to.
As for my study of the bible, I’ve studied it plenty over the years. He just never knew about it before. Just like it took seventeen years for me to learn he was a Jehovah’s Witness. Supposedly. I don’t think for one second that he truly believes in his Jehovah or any of the things he was out witnessing about. If he did believe in what he was preaching he wouldn’t continue running away from his problems time and again. I think he is selfish, dishonest, and immoral.
I don’t believe in what he was preaching either, but I don’t claim to, and I am not out trying to make other people believe it.