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One day last month, a man and a woman showed up at my door trying to get past my defenses. Later that same day, two older women showed up at my door trying to get past my defenses.

Even though they were selling vastly different products, each team tried to gain my trust. The first team talked about how important it is to save a dollar when you can, the value of promises being kept, and that a product should do what it says it will do.

The second team spoke of how everyone has been on edge lately, what with all the negative things in the news and that, in times like these, it’s great to know there is always something in the world you can count on.

The first team was selling FIOS. The second were Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In both cases, the one who stood by and did no talking was unwittingly speaking volumes. Each of them looked me right in the eye, almost glowering. I thought, what an odd sales tactic. It may just be that they’ve had a door or two slammed on them as they’ve peddled their wares.

As I closed the door after declining their “offers,”  it occurred to me that they could actually have been reflecting what they saw on my face. I have yet to find a balance between my belief that everyone should be treated respectfully and the annoyance I feel when solicitors come to my door.

People are doing more than ringing doorbells lately. Just look at the news and you’ll see: we’re getting under each other’s skin. If the best we can do is answer the door, decline with a bit of a scowl and go back to cooking dinner, maybe that will just have to do for now.

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Each month, a van full of Jehovah’s Witnesses fans out on my block, knocking on doors and spreading their gospel. I must be on their “non-compliant” list, because every one of them that shows up on my doorstep looks terrified.

“How are you ma’am…I, uh, just came by, uh, to ask a question…do you believe the Bible is the word of God?”

I had to stop him from going full-bore into his spiel; it was the humane thing to do. In the past, I’m sure I must have been prickly to them.  This time, I was purposely pleasant.

“It is the word of God, but I have my own religion.  Thank you. Good-bye.”

As I closed the door, I thought, if you really wanted to portray your religion in a good light, you’d put aside what you consider the Soul Service and come to people with Social Service.

On my block, half of the people are behind on the mortgage, many are unemployed, and some are retired and on a fixed income. 

Come to my door and say, I see you’ve got a wobbly railing here on your front steps.  I’d like to fix it for you.  No charge.  It’s part of the outreach of my church.

If you fix the railing, you can bet that when you’re done, I’m going to ASK YOU about your faith.  I want to know more about any religion that offers this kind of human-need help.

I had what Oprah calls an “Aha Moment” as well – I’ve long said that I’m one of those SBNR people – you know, Spiritual but not Religious. But thanks to these door-to-door soul-salesmen, I realized that I do have a religion. 

And it can be summed up very simply.

  • Love God.
  • Love yourself.
  • Love your neighbor.
  • Be happy.
  • Be healthy.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Keep your word.
  • No toxins.

The condensed version of this would be:  Always Do the Right Thing.

So I suppose I would have to admit that these religious people who showed up uninvited did give me a spiritual epiphany of sorts.  Even if they didn’t convert me or save my mortal soul, they gave me food for thought and some insight into my own philosophy.  And for that, I really am grateful.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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