I think this is what happens when you’re pathologically polite and also someone who grew up welcoming all stray cats.
You make friends with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I have lived in my apartment, which I LOVE SO MUCH and for which I pay a king’s ransom, for 6 months now. But last week was the first time I experienced door-to-door GOOD WORD saleswomen.
I was getting ready for work and sufficiently askew in mind and appearance when I heard a knock on the door. Since I am a single, young, cute woman in America, I do not answer my door because: murders. I peeked out the door and saw fellow harmless ladies waiting outside in their sensible low heels and color-coordinated infinity scarves so I did what any unsuspecting heathen would do. I opened the door.
“Hello! Oh! What well behaved dogs you have. I know you’re probably getting ready for work and you weren’t expecting me but do you have a moment so I can share some thoughts with you?”
Linda (of course her name is Linda) proceeded to tell me that God sees me. In fact, he knows all the hairs on my head. Isn’t that nice? So if you feel like no one cares about you, He does.
It was like Linda could peer into my soul and see the endless, frantic carousel of underwhelming Tinder dates, forgotten milestones and cancelled plans. She was saying all the right things and being a true comfort. Until,
“So what do you think? Isn’t that COMFORTING. What the Bible tells us to be true?”
As you know, I was raised in a Catholic household in the rural Midwest, then attended a Lutheran college and generally spent most of my 30 years on this planet in Bible Land. If none of those things converted me, Linda had no chance.
“Well sure, Linda. If you’re a believer. But I am not.”
Linda vowed to return soon with her perfect hair, dog-eared Bible and good news.
And return she did — only days later.
I was coming back from a walk in the forest with the dogs on a Sunday morning, groggy from two consecutive late nights. It was a perfect heathen trap.
Linda knocked again, minutes after I returned, almost as if a higher power told her when I’d be arriving. I was sweaty and make-up free, while Linda looked fresh from heaven itself alongside the back-up she called in — Kelly. They were matching: non-clingy pencil skirts and smooth hair. SMILES. Bibles.
“Cait! Remember me? I wanted to come back because I have more thoughts for you. Last time we talked about how God knows every hair on your head. Today I wanted to tell you that not only does he SEE you, but he UNDERSTANDS you. And everything you are going through. What do you think about that?”
I told Linda again that this is a very comforting idea for someone who is a believer. I told her that I do find comfort in the enduring, static nature of the Catholic rituals I participated in as a child, but I cannot reconcile much of Christianity with how I live my life.
She responded with some Bible Literalism, so I realized Linda and I were never going to be tequila buddies.
“Cait, can I share a final thought with you? It’s a passage from Jeremiah …”
And this, dear readers, is when I dropped the mic on this Jehovah:
“Oh? Is it, ‘For I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord/plans for a future and a hope/plans for good and not for evil/plans to bless you/plans to save’?”
Linda and Kelly looked at each other. They had been hoodwinked by a heathen.
“This has never happened before,” said Linda. “How do you know that.”
Because to me, spirituality of all kinds and the peace it offers to others is fascinating. These beliefs are important to how we move through the world and meaningfully interact. Compassion is my religion, and this transcends a church. And beautiful, resonant words will get me every time.
Linda promised to come visit me again. This time she said she wants to discuss how we can cling to the Bible to help us interpret the everyday and bring us peace.