Updated: Nov 27, 2019
I look at my phone.
A message from Sophie! Her very first words to me after she found out that I cheated on her with a man:
"Please go with Jehovah God."
Wow! I am astonished. What a girl. I see no anger in these words. I feel no hate. No sadness. No blaming. No disgust. She just worries about my future.
It is now one hour ago that my wife left the apartment without a word. Our friends who stayed overnight have left as well. I am here on my own. In our apartment. The apartment that we have lived in for only 5 months. It is end of February. A sunny and mild Sunday noon. But inside one part after another is collapsing. I see where things are going. I feel that this Sunday brings drastic changes. I do not know what to feel. This scene is so intense. I look at a black screen when trying to remember what happens between her leaving and my phone ringing.
Yes, my phone is ringing and wakes me up out of my paralyzation. Sophie, it is her. I pick up.
Sophie: Where are you?
Me: I am at home.
Sophie: And our friends? Are they still there?
Me: They have just left.
Sophie: What happened between you and this guy?
Me: We had oral sex.
Sophie: Oh my god! I cannot live with this man!
That is when I notice that she is calling me in front of her mum. Maybe in order to have a witness with her? Of course. At this moment I am the last guy on earth whom she trusts. She might fear that I would deny everything. So, better having some witnesses and screenshots with her to prove my sins.
Her mother: Please calm down. Everything will be fine.
Sophie: I cannot do this. I do not want to do this.
Her shock and disgust is obvious. I cannot say a word.
Sophie: Have you told the pastors yet?
Me: No, I will do that.
Sophie: Do it today. Or I am going to tell them.
Me: Ok, sure.
She hangs up. Oh dear. I am awake. I got out of my paralyzed mind. I feel so tiny, so little. I look at myself and see a puppy who pretends to be not aware what he has just done. I try to feel pity for myself. I try to convince me looking into the mirror that someone like me could never be capable to hurt someone so deeply. Someone I love. My wife. I look on my phone. I open the chat. The chat window of my pastor. I choose the pastor whom I trust. The one I think he is the most realistic and empathetic one of all the other pastors of my congregation.
Me: Hey, I have to see you. It is very urgent. Do you have time now?
I press the Send-Button.
Another hour passes by. I distract myself tidying up the flat. Preparing some laundry. I just do not want to sit down. The risk is to high to realize. Realizing some big changes would await me. But then I suddenly hear someone coming up the stairs. Sophie! Oh dear! I cannot see her right now. How awful. I run out of the apartment, looking for my shoes. She is coming upwards. But with another one.
Now, I see both of them coming up the stairs. She and her mother. Please, I want to die!
Sophie: You are still hear?
Me: I have texted the pastor but he hasn't replied yet. But I just go and leave the both of you here.
This is when her mother and me look at each other. There is no word, no emotion exchanged. I just feel fear. Big fear. Escape! Get out of here!
I go fast and straight to the train station. Entering the train I take out my phone. And I call my pastor.
Pastor: Hey Philipp. What's up? Is everything OK?
Me: I have sent you a message.
Pastor: I am sorry. I did not look at my phone. What is going on?
Me: I need to see you. Are you available?
Pastor: Sure. I am at home. When do you want to come?
Me: I am already in the train. Probably in 20 minutes at your door?
Pastor: Oh OK. Is it something serious?
Me: Pretty serious. Please let's talk in person.
Pastor: Sure. Take care!
Me: Thank you.
I am sitting next to the window. No one next to me. Moving backwards in the train. Crossing a bridge. Sun rays touch my nose. My eyes are dry. My mind stuck. I only hear the train. Taking me towards reality, towards revelation. I know I need to tell all the truth.
I ring the bell. And he opens. His wife greets me warmly at the door and hugs me.
Pastor's wife: Hey Philipp! How are you?
Me: Not so good...
Pastor: Hi Philipp.
I look at both of them. A look, a cry for help.
Pastor: Come. We sit down in the living room.
Pastor's wife: I will better leave you both alone.
We enter the living room.
Pastor: Please have a seat.
I sit down on the biggest armchair they have got. How can he even offer this to me? I feel guilty sitting in his flat.
Pastor: Tell me. What worries you?
Me: Something very bad happened........
Me: I have cheated on Sophie. With... men.
Pastor: Pooh... That is heavy.
Me: I know.
Pastor: You know we love you. But this doesn't sound good at all. That doesn't mean any good for you.
Me: I know.
Pastor: You know we love you. But you also know what might await you.
Me: Sure. And it will be what I deserve.
Pastor: Look. There are only two options for you. And you have to take that decision. Think well. Are you able to live a whole life as single? You know that there will be no other option for you if you choose to live a life for Jehovah.
Me: Yes. I need to think well.
Pastor: Oh dear. That is really not good. I am going to talk to the other pastors. Now, for you it is just important to go within.
Me: Yes, I will do that.
Pastor: Are you currently in the state that you would harm yourself? Can I leave you alone?
Me: You mean suicide?? Of course. I am OK. Please don't worry.
Pastor: Ok. You will hear from me. Take care.
Me: Thanks for your time.
I get into my shoes again. His wife looks at me. She seems very worried. She hugs me. We say Goodbye...
I walk down the street. Don't know where to go. I sit down at the bus station. So, I need to figure out for myself? Dear... I am not used to think for my decisions. I can choose? I have to choose? I think of the consequences. I think of my family. Thinking of them I just wish the ground would open and swallow me up. I do not want to see them. I do not want to disappoint them. Can I please just go. Go far away. Not having to see anyone again. No one who knows me. So that I will not hurt anyone anymore. I have got no idea what to do. So, I get in the bus.
I will just see where it takes me. I am not able to take any decision right now. Not even where to go. I go by bus. Reaching the final stop. I get out of the bus and something remarkable happens inside of me: I finally put the focus away from myself and look at the people around me.
Hi. Hello all you. You all are beautiful. I guess I am now one of you. I guess I have just fallen out of heaven. Now down on earth. With all of you here. Sharing this street. Have I ever told you that I really like you? I just never allowed myself to like you. But now, it seems we are the same. I am like you. And you are like me. Thank you for surrounding me.
I decided to treat myself and get a coffee. Entering the café I walk upstairs and meet a guy with artfully adorned dreadlocks.
I kindly greet him.
He smiles back.
Wow! What a beautiful feeling. I was just nice to a stranger. Just nice. Without any intentions. Without any thought of superiorness. Without thinking that I need to preach him. I just thought.
How beautiful that you share the earth with me. How beautiful that we greet each other just because we are humans existing next to each other in peace and acceptance.
I am smiling. I feel free. Free to choose to be nice. To share myself. Obviously I am still a nice person. Although I do not feel as one of Jehovah's Witnesses right now. Maybe I have much more to offer than the identity as a Jehovah's Witness.
I keep on walking through the city and I cross a park. But who is that?? Oh dear. A Jehovah's Witness couple. A couple that I know since I was a little boy. Our ways cross.
Couple: Hey Philipp! What a coincidence!
Me: Yes... I just decided to have a walk.
Couple: How is your wife doing?
Me: Oh, she is fine. She is preaching at the moment. (What did I just say??)
Couple: We are so impressed that both of you are pioneering. You are like the perfect couple.
Me: Oh well, that is no big thing. We do what we can.
Couple: And your twin? How is he doing?
Me: Oh, I guess he is fine. I haven't seen him for a while in fact.
Couple: In the end all of your family is just a big example to us. Go on like that!
Me: Thanks. You as well! Was good to see you!
Couple: Enjoy your Sunday!
What has just happened?? Please!! I am here to think. I am here to be alone. To have a walk for myself. To get things sorted out. And then this couple comes by? I feel so bad. They were so curious. And what shall I say? But how good that I am alone again. I go within again. And feel what I want to do now. I want... Wait. What? I want to attend the Sunday meeting in the kingdom hall (church). Yes, maybe that will give me some idea how to go on. So, I go home in order to dress up for the worship in the kingdom hall. But I do not dress up according to the dress code. I don't put on a tie. I don't wear suit trousers. I wear a nice polo shirt. And some suitable chino pants. Business shoes. Yes. This is me. This is how I feel like dressing today for the meeting. I feel good. It is my choice. It is my choice what to wear. It is my choice to go to the kingdom hall. It is my choice.
I am late. I enter the kingdom hall. Everyone is sitting already. People here don't know me. Besides one girl. But she doesn't notice immediately that I come to visit. I sit down in the very last row. Not greeting anybody. I don't feel like belonging. But I want to attend the meeting. For some ideas, orientation, advice. Although I did not receive any advice back then that I would still remember now I still know how I felt there. Sitting amongst Jehovah's Witnesses. I thought: How happy you can be to belong. How happy you can be to be a Jehovah's Witness. What honor to just be a Jehovah's Witness. In some days I will not belong anymore. You still belong. How good for you. Please appreciate it. I currently don't deserve. At the moment I am not like you. But it is OK. I am OK. I leave the meeting during the final song. I did not come for socializing. I came for Jehovah. I came in order to find out how I feel for him and for my brothers in church. And what I feel is:
I do not belong. And it is OK. It is OK for now.