I was sitting on my bedroom sofa this morning, as is my daily writing ritual: pad and paper in hand, coffee mug perched on the windowsill.
As I glanced up to grab my mug I noticed the Jehovah’s Witnesses trudging up the walkway to R’s house across the street. It’s the white house with black shutters on the corner, gaily decorated for Christmas in red bows and greenery.
The experienced fellow of the pair opened the screen door and knocked while the novice waited and watched at the bottom of the steps.
I watched, too, wondering what R would do when she opened the door.
After about 15 seconds, the door opened and the man stepped forward. But as soon as the door opened, it shut again firmly.
They had nary a moment to get out the first pleasant greeting when they were shooed away like so many bold gray squirrels going after a picnic in a city park.
I noticed his resigned look as he retreated down the street on this chilly December morning. I felt a twinge of discomfort on his behalf. What a lonely existence, I thought. It can’t be comfortable to be constantly turned out on your ear.
But perhaps it’s not such a lonely existence. Is it possible that when there’s little comfort or acceptance for one’s ideas, pride can easily fill in the empty hole?
This pride attached to knowing that one is utterly and completely right and the knowledge that one is suffering for a higher purpose is the fuel that gets us from door to door, whatever we’re selling.
My lips curved in a little sheepish smile then, because I remember many times when I found the same subtle satisfaction in the idea that I had all the answers, at least about a subject or two—and I know that attitude served to severely annoy the people in my life.
Because someone who acts as though they know everything and have no questions at all ceases to be relevant to the rest of us, who are mucking about in the quagmire of life.
Oh, the insidious, prideful comfort of being right, even more so if you actually are right. Then, you’re really annoying.
Continuing to be teachable even as you continue to be convinced of certain things is the key to a life that bears healthy fruit.
I think that’s why I love the Bible so much because there are miracles and mysteries contained within its pages that seem contradictory at first blush. Yet with time and closer inspection, they morph into paradox—a riddle of missing information.
And as my life races by, wrestling with these issues through difficulties and disappointments has made me less cocky and more objective. It’s the process of wrestling that has helped me make peace with the things that I don’t understand.
Is this what I’ll say when they come to the door? I think it’s something you have to go through to appreciate.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…Galations 5:22