Idell… and Becoming a Witness (Part 3 of 4)

As young people are wont to do, after a couple years in college, I got a serious boyfriend. However, I did not meet him in pursuit of my studies… I had known him from high school.

Bill and I fell head over heels in love. We were having so much fun that I didn’t know what to do with myself. And I was totally able to ignore what different people we really were. So if you hear that term, “Love is Blind” – you should definitely believe it… because it is.

I had taken every course available at the OU-Lancaster campus and had to transfer to the main campus in Athens. That meant I had to commute 45 minutes each way for classes, which cut into my work hours dramatically. Bill and I had gotten married but I was draining our resources. I worked less, was gone more and needed to do homework when Bill would have rather had us going out with friends. This became a great source of stress for us both.

Finally, in the middle of my junior year of college, I decided to take a break. That way I could work full time, replenish the coffers and not feel so guilty when I went back to school. Bill and I were both happy with this turn of events.

Until…

I became pregnant.

I thought, “oh well, I won’t be the first female student to complete her degree with a baby in tow.” So I sailed along with no worries in the world. I fully intended to go back to school and thought Bill was on board with that.

But our baby – which arrived in June 1973 – was not just A baby…

It was TWINS.

And we fell madly in love with our two new sons. But taking care of them left no time or money for anything else. However, we didn’t care. Those boys were our life and we had a blast enjoying them. I put all thoughts of school out of my mind.

After a year or so I figured if I wanted a girl baby I should just go for it and be done with generating a family. Bill was happy with the way things were, but soon I was pregnant again. I loved my life at home with my babies and just prayed that our new baby would be a girl.

About this time, I was visiting with a friend I had known since high school. D had a son the same age as my boys and we would occasionally get together during the day. We would tend our babies and talk about all manner of things. And to my surprise, D posed the question to me, “do you know anything about Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

I did not.

“I’ve heard that if you tell them you’re Catholic they’ll go away,” I replied.

D laughed and told me that wasn’t true. She then proceeded to tell me she was having a “bible study” with one of her relatives that was a Witness but she wanted to quit and didn’t know how to tell her.

“Oh, just leave that to me,” I replied. “When is your next study?”

D filled me in and I told her that I was pretty much a bible expert from my growing-up years and I would be glad to come to her next study and sit in. And then I would tell them for her that they needed to leave her alone. D was thrilled.

The following week I packed up my babies and went to D’s house. D and I got our little ones situated to play together while her Witness aunt and a friend gathered around the table nearby. We all got out our bibles and began to converse. I don’t remember too much of the conversation except that I was very bossy and gave my “interpretations” of every scripture that came up as I understood it. We spent a couple hours doing this and I finally made the point that D did not want to “study” any more. The Witness ladies seemed to understand.

I was pleased that I had “done my job” and began to pack up my boys to go home. D’s Aunt Carol focused on talking to her while the other lady, Idell, turned her attention to me. “Where do you live?” she asked. I told her. “Oh, I know right where that is,” she said. And I didn’t think any more about it.

But the very next week a knock came at my door and there was Idell.JWs

We chatted briefly and she left. But a week later she was back. And the week after that and the week after that.

Sometimes I would not answer the door because I didn’t want to talk. I not only had twin babies, I was pregnant again and didn’t feel too energetic all the time. I mentioned this to Idell thinking she would lose interest in me. That was not the case.

The fascinating thing was, Idell would make good conversation and always steer it toward spiritual things. She would ask me intriguing questions that I wanted to know about – and then direct me to a scripture that had the answer. After she left I would go get out my own bible and try to make sense of it. This lead to me having more questions when she came back.

Eventually Idell asked me if I wanted to have a free “bible study.” I was tempted, but refused. I loved talking to her but I knew my husband would not be pleased. And if it wasn’t something we could do together, it would probably come between us and I didn’t want that. Idell had me look up 1 Peter 3:1,2 –  In the same way, you wives, be in subjection to your husbands, so that if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives, because of having been eyewitnesses of your chaste conduct together with deep respect.

And so our study began.

At the time we had this small blue book called The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life (the Truth Book) and I insisted on using my King James Bible in addition to the “New World Translation” she brought me. I didn’t want to be tricked into anything and I still considered myself very educated on the bible. After all, I had spent years in church and Sunday school – what could I not know by now?

A LOT, as it turns out. (And now I need to give you an ALERT since I am going to make a couple non-PC biblical points here…)

I think the very first thing I learned was that God has a name. And it isn’t Jesus.

I had always had trouble making sense of that Trinity business and Idell went over it with me until I finally understood it. God’s name is Jehovah (Psalm 83:18) and when you put it in perspective, it made perfect sense. Humans have a name – we don’t call each other “man” or “woman” or “boy” or “girl.” We have names, just as our almighty God does. And until we know and recognize that name we can never draw close to him on a personal basis. How do you get to know someone if you don’t even know their name? Simple answer… you don’t.

I think this was one of the most important things I ever learned in my life and it was so elementary… so basic. How do we not all know that?

Then Idell taught me about the Paradise Earth. Which boils down to this… all of us have the desire to live on this beautiful planet forever. It is our home and God created it to be that way. Now there are a few who have a heavenly hope – to be with Jehovah and Jesus in heaven as part of the coming government that will rule mankind – but for the majority of us, we want to stay right here and live forever just like Adam and Eve could have if they hadn’t screwed up. That’s what Jesus and his ransom sacrifice was all about – making sure that Jehovah’s original purpose for the earth still got carried out.

On a sidenote, I need to say that over the years, all of my questions got answered. One Tuesday evening I was sitting in our weekly Bible Study in a private home and the subject of “recognizing Jesus” for who he was came up. I immediately flashed back to that time a few years before when I was laying on my bed, reading an English assignment, and wondering about that very question. And then it dawned on me… my answer was YES. I would have recognized Jesus because the same work that went on in the first century is going on today. Jesus was the center of it then just like he is now. And I recognized him and responded in kind. I lowered my head, smiled to myself, and thanked Jehovah for sending me Idell.

Another sidenote… My new baby WAS a girl and I was ecstatic. For a baby gift, Idell brought me the oversized two-volume encyclopeadic set called “Insight on the Scriptures.” I can’t tell you how I poured over those volumes in the coming years as I continued my spiritual education.

And that was just the beginning. Within a year of studying the Bible with Idell, I dedicated my life to Jehovah and got baptized. But Idell knew I would continue to have problems. Yes, I loved and was committed to my spiritual decision, but all of my family was not. My former church community was not. And things did not go along smoothly…

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: And Then There Was Ellyn… (part 2 of 4) | thesketchylife

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