the Point of Writing
Today I woke up to a knock at the door. Actually, I was awake, but not enough to know that it might be too early, or too Saturday, to have a visit from a friend. Sure enough, the couple at my bedroom door were strangers. I frowned, remembering that my neighborhood enjoyed a constant swarm of Jehova’s Witnesses, and Saturday mornings were the time they bit the most.
They were pleasant enough, my Witnesses. The wife, plump, and wearing her best blue dress and pearls, with a light application of make up and hair pulled back securely, was the first to speak. I believe that the opening line to me was something about Happiness–she was concerned about mine. Her husband was a small, stout man with a tweed blazer and blue slacks. My first thought when taking him in was that he had a great looking tie. I’d say that they were well into their 50s, and were so, so clean. Spotlessly clean.
I have to hand it to her… she gave me the Speech with a grace that I don’t usually expect from such visitors to my home. She was shaking, gently, like a leaf, so I could tell that she was nervous, but she was so genuine about what she was saying I found myself being impressed, despite myself.
I immediately put on a tight-lipped grimace that I know my father wore in similar situations. Not a rude face, but one that should convey “I’m here, listening to you, but just out of politeness, so you’d better watch yourself”. She made sure that we were introduced right off the bat. They asked my name, and whether or not I was a college student. I tend to lie to strangers that come to my door, and so I told that I was indeed in college. Studying… science. Biology. For some reason it feels so good in these situations to lie. I’m not malicious about it… it’s just a game that I play, sometimes. Maybe the lying helps me to get into a character, so I can then be stronger about saying “no” (or sometimes, “yes”) when they ask me to do things I do/don’t want to do. I don’t know.
I won’t go into what we talked about. Needless to say they preached joy, peace, enlightenment thru God’s love and the telltale signs of the end of the world was nigh. I patiently listened to everything the wife said. Encouraged, she continued long after her point was made, and long after she should have. At one point, even I wanted to stop her, and offer advice about this. I wanted to tell her that she would have been more effective if she had stopped at the part where Jesus’s blood was spilled so that we can all be saved, because God cares, and gave us a Ransom for our sin in the form of His Only Begotten Son… and not gone into the whole bit about how human beings were God’s chosen animal and the only reason that trees live longer than we do is because we’re sinners. What?? Because I started to space out, at that point, and think, “She’s not bad. But she could be more concise.”
She did very well at trying to bring me into the conversation. By asking me to recite the Lord’s Prayer with her, for example. And choosing passages from the Bible that I could read aloud. Of course, it was very cheeky of her, and I was pissed about it, but had to hand it to her: she had guts, and I admired that.
At some point, when she asked me to answer some questions about what I thought the state of the world was in, I started my own monologue. I told her that I actually am very happy. And that I owe this happiness to God, just as she does. That I feel like I have a fairly good relationship with God. Passionate. Personal. And I told them that I appreciated that they came to my door because they cared about me, and the salvation of the world, but I just did not agree with many things they said. Because I simply don’t agree that everything we need to know about life and living and love is found in the Bible. Certainly, a lot of it is in there… there’s a hell of a lot of common sense in that book… but it’s just a reference guide, to me, just as any other book could be. I told them that no, I don’t want to end suffering and death on this earth. That wouldn’t make sense at all. No one would learn a thing in a world where there wasn’t pain and struggle. I become who I am because of the hardships I’ve been through, and I look forward to the lessons I’ll learn in the future. That’s being human. And I don’t expect to not be human, any time soon.
And damnit, if they didn’t give me the same fucking blank stare that every fanatic gives me when I speak about something I believe, that doesn’t jive with what they do. That “This Does Not Compute” face. You can practically watch them process the fact that someone else has a different opinion from theirs, process it, and send it straight to the recycling bin (or the Trash, for some of us). I had my little speech, they quickly recovered from the blatant blasphemy, and continued droning on, without me.
I don’t know why I offered my opinion. You can get rid of those people faster if you don’t engage. But I was feeling frisky, and thought it would be nice to hear myself speak on a Saturday morning. I think that I sounded great. I have nothing against the couple; in fact, we parted on good terms. And I definitely don’t have anything against what they believe. They’re passionate about God, but their version of the story forces them to go door-to-door with it. It’s fine, by me. But what frustrates me about people that do that is the seeming lack of intelligence that goes along with strong, pure, faith.
Why does there usually have to be an either/or? I am always listening. I try to always be open. I feel strongly about what I believe, but I never completely close the door on what someone else believes. At the very least, I accept that in the end, we might disagree, but we’re basically, fundamentally, feeling similar things. It’s the language that is different. And some of these languages have far more strict rules of grammar than mine. But I understand. Why can’t my Jehova couple?
For God’s sake. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to stand on a stranger’s porch and imply that he’s going to Hell for not speaking German? I might never ever speak German. Or Japanese. French, or even Spanish. My English, even, compared to some, is fairly flawed. But it’s my English. It’s a dialect that I speak, of a language that many speak, which all humans that I know of require, to communicate. Maybe in terms of Religion, I don’t speak a language that others understand. To my Jehovas I might as well be grunting and clicking. But it’s my language, and I feel that I can express myself beautifully with it.
I’ve been wondering why I started this online journal. I used to write about specific things, like, being in a rock band. Well, maybe that’s all I have ever written about. And I’ve been wondering whether it makes any sense to keep writing things that people can read. I might not be good at it. I might not make sense. Maybe I’ll get bored. And maybe no one will read. But after this morning, I realized that it doesn’t matter. I can write if I want to, what I want to. Some posts might be good, and others, really terrible. But I guess I do feel a need, just like my morning visitors, to speak out about the things that I think about. They think that they’re appearing on my porch for a Higher Reason, but I think that as human beings, they were expressing themselves to learn more about themselves. In their Jehova’s Witness patois. I dig it. I may not be as pushy as they were, but I understand why they were there this morning. I promise not to try to make you see my way. But I think that I will, after all, express it.
Grunt. Grunt. Click.