I Swallowed My Pride and Found Happiness
IN 1970, I was 23 years old and ambitious. At my place of employment at an automobile club in Ivrea, Italy, I was made chief clerk. I was determined to be somebody. And yet I was very depressed and gloomy. Why?
My husband spent most of his time in bars playing cards with his friends, and he left me to shoulder most of the family responsibilities. Our relationship began to deteriorate. We quarreled over the smallest things. As a result, my mind became crowded with negative thoughts.
‘No one is really interested in you,’ I would say. ‘They only want to take advantage of your position.’ I would tell myself: ‘God can’t exist because if he did, he wouldn’t permit so much suffering and wickedness. Life is nothing but a race toward death.’ I could not understand why this was so.
Beginning of a Change
One day in 1977, two of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on our door. My husband, Giancarlo, invited them inside, and they went into the living room to talk. His intention was to have them become evolutionists like him, but they were the ones who changed his thinking!
Soon Giancarlo also began to make changes in his life. He became more patient, devoting more time and attention to me and our daughter. He tried to talk to me about the things he was learning, but I would invariably close the conversation on a bitter note.
Then one day when the Witnesses called, I sat down and really listened. They spoke about the end of this system of things and about God’s Kingdom, the Paradise earth, and the resurrection of the dead. I was stunned! I didn’t sleep for the next three nights! I wanted to know more, but pride prevented me from asking my husband questions. Then one day he sternly told me: “Today you’re going to listen. I have the answers to all your questions.” Then he just poured out Bible truths to me.
Giancarlo told me that Jehovah is the name of the Creator, that His principal attribute is love, that He sent His Son as a ransom so that we might have everlasting life, and that after the destruction of the wicked at Armageddon, Jesus Christ will resurrect the dead during his Thousand Year Reign. He said that resurrected ones would grow to mental and physical perfection and that they would have the opportunity to live forever on earth in Paradise.
The next day, I accompanied my husband to the Kingdom Hall for the first time. Afterward I said to him: “These people love one another. I want to continue coming here because they are really happy.” I began attending meetings regularly, and a Bible study was conducted with me. I thought a lot about what I was learning and soon became convinced that I had found the true people of God. In 1979 my husband and I symbolized our dedication to Jehovah by being baptized.
The Full-Time Ministry
At a circuit assembly later that year, a discourse was given encouraging the full-time preaching activity. I felt moved to take up that service, and I went to Jehovah in prayer about the matter. But then I got pregnant, and my plans were interrupted. Over the next four years, we had three children. Two of them, on different occasions, developed life-threatening physical defects. Thankfully, in each case, they fully recovered.
Now I felt that I could not put off any longer my plans for the full-time ministry. I quit my secular work to concentrate better on my responsibilities as a wife and mother. My husband and I made plans to live on a single income, which meant giving up all nonessentials. Yet, Jehovah richly blessed us, never abandoning us to poverty or need.
In 1984 my daughter, who was then 15 and had recently been baptized, began the full-time ministry as a pioneer. At the same time, my husband was appointed an elder. And me? Feeling I could not yet pioneer, I set the goal of 30 hours a month in the preaching work. I reached it and said to myself: ‘Well done! You are doing plenty.’
Once more, though, pride became my problem. (Proverbs 16:18) I kept thinking how well I was doing and that I didn’t need to make any further spiritual progress. My spirituality began to wane, and I even began losing the good qualities I had acquired. Then I received the discipline that I needed.
In 1985 two traveling overseers and their wives were guests in our home as they made their periodic visit to our congregation. Observing these humble, self-sacrificing Christians really caused me to meditate on matters. I did research on the subject of humility, using the Watch Tower Society publications. I thought about the great humility Jehovah shows in his dealings with us sinful humans. (Psalm 18:35) I knew I had to change my thinking.
I implored Jehovah to help me cultivate humility so as to serve him the way he wanted me to and to guide me in using the gifts that I have to his glory. I filled out an application for the pioneer service, and I began serving him in the full-time ministry in March 1989.
I can say now that I am truly happy and that swallowing my pride is what has contributed to my happiness. I have found a real reason for living—that of helping needy ones to come to know that Jehovah, the true God, is not far from those who seek him.—As told by Vera Brandolini.