February 28, 2008

The God People

About once a month I get a visit from a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses. The couple are a sweet old pair that I affectionately call the God people. They stop by to share scripture with me. When they leave, they pass me their latest publications and move on. I don't have a problem with them. I know they are just trying to spread the Word.

It seems, try as I might, I cannot shake them. Since I've started writing again, the couple stops by at the most inopportune times.

During Christmas, I was neck high covered in wrapping paper. When the knock on the door came, I just knew it was the God people. I dropped my wrapping papers and answered the door. The sweet little couple said their hello and began their spiel.

I hesitated, and then I cut them off. I explained that I had just started wrapping presents and I was limited on time--the little one would wake from her nap soon. They understood, handed me the pamphlets, and left.

In October, I had just begun tearing apart our surround system--we blew out the sub woofer--when I heard a car pull into the drive. I looked out the window and sure enough it was the God people.

I know they saw how I was working behind the entertainment center, all tangled in wires, and covered in speaker dust. They knocked on the door anyway.

I listened for a bit and then, politely as I could, asked them to leave. They passed me the magazines and left.

The month before that, I was having computer issues. I had to reformat and reinstall a ton of information. I was aggravated beyond belief when they knocked on the door. I answered and explained to them that I was in the middle of some major computer issues. Understanding as they were, they handed me the books and left.

Last month they arrived with a new person in their party. They knocked on the door and of course I answered. They introduced their new member and shared scripture with me. Now I listened for as long as I could before I relayed to them that I was just getting ready to go shopping. They gave me the papers and left.

This month they knocked on the door and my husband answered. They asked for me. Can you believe that he actually came and got me? I was in the office working on an article, just about had it submitted, and here he stood saying, "There's someone at the door for you." I glared in his direction, "is it the God people?" He nodded. The little one heard me and started chanting, "It's the God people" over and over. He grabbed her and took her out of ear shot.

I shuffled to the door, took a long deep breath, and opened it. They smiled at me and asked me if I was having issues with my stereo, my computer, wrapping presents, or going to the store.

I said, "Actually, I just started working on writing..."
"Oh, you're a writer?"
"Well, I'm trying to be..."
"Whom are you writing for?"
At this point I really wanted to say God, but I bit my tongue and told them about the online gig. They brushed me off, "We have some new books for you. We’d like to share some scripture...”

I had to cut them off. I hated doing it, but, I was really right in the middle of work. They started off on the wrong foot with me by mentioning all of my recent trials when I came to the door. They handed me the books and left.

Bear with me now because this is going to get weird. Last night I awoke from a startling dream. In my dream I was dozing on the couch. There was a knock at the door. I opened my eyes and knew who it was, the God people. I decided not to answer and went back to sleep.

Suddenly the door opened and in walked the newest member of the clan. I stood up and said, "Just what do you think you're doing?"

Astonished, she looked at me and said, "The door was open!" I walked over and pushed her out the door. "Just because the door was open doesn't give you the right to enter!"

The older couple just stood there staring at me. I asked them to leave. They didn't give me any magazines and left.

Don't get me wrong. For over a year I have been civil with this couple. The dream I had last night really woke me up.

My time is precious. I am religious but I am not a Jehovah's Witness. I believe in God and pray regularly. I have nothing against Jehovah's Witnesses. But between them, the magazine sales people, asphalt salesmen, neighbors stopping by, friends and family calling on a whim to chat, and life in general, I feel that time stealers are taking over my life.

I feel like putting a sign on the door that says:

What would you do? How do you handle situations like this?

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  1. Muse:

    Great story. I imagine that a lot of us folks have had unwanted visits from the JW's. Once you open the door and get caught up in the conversation, it's very difficult to politely bow out.

    One time about forty years ago I was living on the edge of Death Valley, California. It was about as far away from civilization as you could get - a hot, bleak place we called, the edge of the world. But guess what? JW's knocked on my door about twice a month. In Death Valley!

    Nice story. It gives us a little insight into your mind. LOL!

    HAve a nice day.

  2. Hey Swu! I can't believe they made it to Death Valley!?! Perhaps they were working to save the people on the edge of the world. And to visit twice a month, that's determination.

    I really did used to converse with them before September 07. I knew they were just doing their thing. They are really a sweet couple. I'm just not going to convert and I don't think they get that.

    Have a good one!

  3. Hi! We get them here too, God love'em. But you have to give it to them, as they're the most persistent and the most patient people I have ever meet. I don't think they have an angry bone in their body going on the number of knock backs they get around here. Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from them after all!

    Take Care!

  4. Hey Muse, great story! And Swubird, I agree with Muse--Death Valley?!

    I have a touch to add: I believe that the majority of people believe that those who are self-employed and work at home aren't working. At all. Period. I also happen to think this is especially true for women (your husband came and got you?!).

    That having been said, I've had to develop a tough skin but a kind routine that doesn't say much and therefore doesn't give an opportunity ("Oh, when will you be done? We'll wait.").

    For example, "No, I can't talk now." Nothing more. Said nicely. Shut the door. For family and friends, thank heavens for phone messages.

    And sometimes, I just don't answer the door. (But I can't get away with that because I don't have children.)

  5. Well, first of all I have to wonder if they think that you're making some of your stories up when you tell them you're busy. They must get that a lot--"I'm on a phone call" or "We're just about to eat dinner". So maybe they don't truly realize how busy you are. Anyway, the next time they came to the door I would tell them nicely but firmly that you are very happy in your current church and that you are not planning to change your religion. You appreciate their concern for your spiritual future (or whatever) but you work from home and simply cannot be disturbed. Then thank them and close the door. You wouldn't be the first, but you would be one of the nicest. They're probably surprised you put up with them this long, and are taking it as a sign that you are considering converting, or you would have sent them away long ago and not taken any of their pamphlets.

  6. You are one patient and kind woman. I believe these people are stepping on your boundaries. They are owed the courtesy of a polite no; you are owed the courtesy of their accepting it.
    And I agree with Conda. People who work at home (and that includes mothers who do "nothing more" than care for children and home) are disrespected and devalued.
    Quite a story.

  7. Persistent is right, Peter, I do have to give them that.

    It is really frustrating. One thing I forgot to mention in my story, I keep the blinds open all day, every day. That said, when they walk up to the door they can see right into the house. Like a fish bowl, I live in plain site of all. So, Conda, I have to answer the door. About the phone, in addition to the message box, I've got the power button. I have to admit I use that quite often. I think they've caught on to my tactics.

    Booklady, thanks for stopping by! I do believe they think I am making up stories about being busy. I should tell them I am happy with my church and be done with it, but I have been putting up with it for so long. I wouldn't want to offend them, or hurt their feelings, at least not in person--that's why I was thinking about putting up a sign.

    But on the other hand, Kathy, you are right I should be polite and forget the sign. I'll just combine all of your advice and do the right thing.

    They have taken the time to come to see me the past year. They are very sweet. I owe them a little common courtesy.

  8. Like you, I am too polite to quickly brush them off, regardless of the fact that I have my own beliefs, which they likely wouldn't want to listen to. *sigh*

    BUT, I have a friend who swears to God (lol) that when he sees them coming, he strips off all his clothes, grabs a bottle of whatever is handy--beer, wine, Jack Daniel's--, sticks a cigar in his mouth,opens the door and invites them in for a shot.

    Oddly enough, none of them take him up on the offer--or come back =)

  9. Lainey, thanks for stopping by! Now, that friend of yours has the right idea!!!

    I can see it now. Me naked, the little one running around in her panties, and the both of us drinking the beverage of our choice. I don't think I could do the cigar though, cigarette maybe. I wonder how long it would take for the cops to arrive?

    If I were not so self conscious, I might try it...

  10. I have politely, yet firmly, told God people thanks, but your beliefs are not mine. Please do not call again.

    My dogs, sensing my animosity toward any strangers knocking on my door, add their vocal and hostile two-cents (as they are large enough to look menacing, their comments are effective). I don't get follow-up visits.

  11. j.l., thanks for stopping by! I do have a huge Weimie that barks incessantly when the come 'round, hasn't swayed them yet.

    I should have told them long ago that I wasn't interested. My error. I think I'm a pushover sometimes.

  12. Hi Muse:
    Late to this blog post . . . but I don't answer the telephone. Ever. If the JWs come to my door, even if they see me through the window, I don't answer. I won't answer the door for anyone. It's nothign personal (hence, no guilt toward the most-likely well-meaning God people), but I view my home as a sanctuary. As a safe place. A place that is mine to be with my kids and my dogs, free from time stealers and bullsh*t. So no one, and I mean no one, gets a free pass in. I defend the "space" and feel no guilt.


  13. Hello Erica! Never too late. Now that's an idea, I could just not answer the door. Of course the little one would run around and tell me someone's at the door. But I could just play deaf. I'd be afraid they'd peer into the window. I guess that's when I could start swigging whiskey, crank up the stereo, and stripping.

    Thanks for stopping by! I'm off to check out your spot...

  14. You need a really big dog with a taste for religious people.

    Years ago, when I was younger and living with my parents, we had some JW's stop by. The dog went off. My dad went to the door, he may has well have been barking too. And he was enjoying it. He left momentarily to go get some notes and while he was gone my dog started barking again. When dad got back she quit and he started up. It was like watching a couple of wrestlers tag teaming.


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