A Witness

A knock on my door. Two strangers stand on my porch, Holy Bibles tucked under their arms. 

When I open the door, a tall, dark-skinned woman stretches out her hand, smiles as she gives me her name. Then she introduces her husband Henry, a shy man who lingers self-consciously behind her. I acknowledge him with a nod of my head; he tips the brim of his feathered fedora. 

From her briefcase, she pulls a copy of WATCHTOWER. She offers it to me and I accept. 

Bold-faced headlines scream from the cover: GOD WILL END ALL SUFFERING. WHEN? HOW?

"Are you famiilar with God’s promises about suffering?" she asks.

"I sure am," Chapter and verse, I think to myself.   "My father was a tent preacher, so I’ve heard many, many sermons on this topic." 

She pulls back her head, as if surprised by my explanation. She scours my face, no doubt searching for the thoughts I leave unexpressed. 

I don’t offer anything further, and she doesn’t ask. And in that silence, we share a moment of Grace.

  1. You’re a very gracious person, Melodye. When I had a similar encounter, the question they asked was, “Have you read God’s Word?” and I said, “Many times over.” Then I smiled and sent them on their way 😉

    • It’s one of life’s important lessons, I think, to honor ourselves while being respectful of the other person. Tricky stuff, but it’s gratifying when it happens. Sounds like you experienced that for yourself. 🙂

  2. It’s always nice to think you are at odds with someone, only to find out you’re actually standing on the same bridge, enjoying the same view together. I think that despite differences of doctrine, people who are honestly trying to be close to God recognize each other.

    • Yes, Rose, to all you’ve said here! As Maya Angelou said, “We are more alike than we are unalike.” We can find that common ground when we’re willing to look. Not always, but often. And it’s so rewarding when we do.

  3. I wish you’d be standing next to me the next time I open my door to people who are there to offer Watchtower. Then I’d have a prayer (ha!) of behaving so graciously.

    • 🙂

      Like anyone else, I have my limits. My experiences with prosthelytizing make ne gunshy, but when someone approaches me in peace (as she did), I’m willing to search for common ground.

    • Thank you for allowing me to share it. I love these moments of grace–where people of different persuasions can meet in the center, without casting shadows on the other person’s Light. It feels…glowy. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but that’s the word that came to mind as I shut the door.

  4. Last Saturday, I was filling my gas tank at a nearby gas station when well dressed black man drove up in a Cadillac Escalade, jumped out and came over to me, whipped out some pamphlets and said he was a Jehovah’s Witness. My reply was, “Then step away from the car.” He did.
    I can’t be nice when people believe they have the right to proselytize me. Jesus said to spread the word, I know, but pigeonholing people at the gas pump is not polite. And assuming your version of a higher power is better than mine and I need your input is kind of insulting. I don’t think that whatever HP there is cares what you call it. Only people care about that.
    Sorry for the rant.
    I love your attitude. I just don’t have it.
    And I love the way you write

    • I’m open to new ideas (and the people who share them), but like you, I don’t like having someone else’s belief systems shoved in my face.

      That wasn’t the nature of this encounter, thank goodness. We honored each other’s (unspoken) differences, and I think we shared a silent appreciation of that.

      (P.S. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for your lovely compliment!)

    • I’m open to new ideas (and the people who share them), but like you, I don’t like having someone else’s belief systems shoved in my face.

      That wasn’t the nature of this encounter, thank goodness. We honored each other’s (unspoken) differences, and I think we shared a silent appreciation of that.

      (P.S. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for your lovely compliment!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *