I don't much care for door-to-door salesmen as I documented in this blog post almost two years ago. (Incidentally, last year after running the marathon a black kid from Detroit was wandering my neighborhood selling magazine subscriptions, and of course I ended up buying one. How much was it? Almost $40 for a one year subscription to Runner's World. How many issues did I actually receive? One. Exactly 1. Then I could never get a hold of anyone who could help me receive the rest of my subscription. How much can you get a year's subscription for online? $12 for a full year. But I was also helping this kid pay his way for college, so I was actually benefiting society by helping him find a better path, right?)
Anyhow, what I always welcome are community activists, whether it's something political or religious. And I don't much care if the person is preaching the same religion as my own, or if the petition that they want signed is something that conflicts with my own views, I just always admire when a person believes in something enough to go and talk to complete strangers about it. I may not accept the copy of the Watchtower, or sign the petition, but I always always always try and be as friendly and encouraging as possible to whomever it is that comes to my door. I guess it's because I've been on the receiving end both as a missionary and as a salesman, and even with the Prop 8 stuff, and it's never an easy thing.
This morning I had a nice little Jehovah's Witness come to my door talking about the Holy Ghost and what a wonderful thing it is. He was dressed in a suit and tie, and spoke haltingly, the nervousness evident in his voice and his posture. I just wanted to give him a hug and thank him for caring enough to come and share his message with me, even if I don't necessarily agree. It's something significant that someone would bother to dedicate time out of their day, get dressed in their Sunday best, and want to help steer me onto what they believe in their hearts is a good path.
What bothers me is not when someone has a different view point than my own, but when people are indifferent, ambivalent, or lukewarm. Sometimes people are misguided, but at least they care, and they're trying to do what they think is right, and that definitely counts for something.
It really is a scary thing to knock on someone's door and know that more than likely, whatever it is that you have to offer will not be well received. As a missionary, it goes from being something you dread to something you love because you've become so battle-tested. Knocking on someone's door is so personal because you're wanting to invade their space, and also because what you bring with you is probably so deeply personal.
I didn't end up taking his copies of the Watchtower, but I wished him well, told him he was doing a good thing and that I hoped he had a great day. Not entirely sure why, but it just warms my heart when a person is willing to step out of their comfort zone for something they believe in.