I have trouble saying no. I'm sure my husband, if he read my blog, would laugh heartily at that statement, but it's true in some respects. When people ask me for a favor, it's like this impossible force within me, I must say yes. Need me to watch your kid? Sure, no problem. Going away and forgot about your dog? No worries, bring him over. I already have a dog and two cats, what's one more? The list goes on. Ordinarily, I don't think it's a big deal, except at 2 o'clock when I hear a knock on the door and I'm not expecting guests. Then my ability to say no is a gargantuan big deal.
What some of you 9-5ers may not know, while you're away at work, people are standing outside your door knocking. It's constant. Every week someone for some reason or another knocks on my door.
That fateful day, four years ago, someone knocked on my door. Itty bitty baby Alice in my arms, I opened it to find a young (17?) male African American...with a book in his hand. Not just a book, The book. In his other hand was The Watchtower. At the bottom of my front porch steps stood his grandmother with her summer hat on. He was nice to me, so I listened to him spread his belief. He gave me the required pamphlets and went about his day. That's where I went wrong. I should have nipped it in the bud that first meeting, but I didn't. I couldn't. He was so kind, I couldn't say no. So he came back. Again and again and, oh my God, again. He knew my name. He knew Alice's name. Always the same, he talked while I nodded and answered his questions, his grandmother always within ear shot. I started to like the kid. I even found myself reading some of the articles in Awake!. I remember the day I realized it had gone too far, I was in the middle of nursing Alice when he knocked. I should have opened the door and said, "Enough's enough already! I'm not buying into your belief! I celebrate Christmas and my birthday!" Not having the required amount of balls to do so, I unlatched a very furious Alice, put my boob away, opened the door and greeted my new friend. I listened, all the while bouncing Alice to keep her whines to a minimum. I didn't want to interrupt his preaching. Then, at the end of this particular visit, he said it.
"Next time, why don't my grandmother and I come inside for some bible study?"
Holy, oh my eff, what had I gotten myself into?! I had no intentions of allowing this kid in my house for bible study, no matter how nice he was. If I had just said no from the get-go, I wouldn't be freaking out about how I was going to politely sever my new friendship.
I consulted my friends. They all said the same, "What? You're meeting with the Jehovah Witnesses on a regular basis? Seriously?" Thanks, guys. Then, my sister in-law told me her mother has regular Bible study with the Jehovah's, even lunch. I knew then and there, I didn't want to be making egg salad and lemonade for this kid and his family. I needed to end it. Maybe I could just leave a note on the door.
Like ripping off a band-aid, I did it on our next meeting. As soon as I opened the door, I told him thank you for the kindness but I liked my faith the way it was. Just like that my many month long problem was gone. I was removed from the list and the Jehovah Witnesses haven't stopped by since.
I learned a very big lesson that day. If you can't say no when you open the door, don't open the door.
I spend quite a bit of time hiding behind my door, glancing through the peep hole to see if the most recent solicitor has vacated my porch yet.
Which brings me to yesterday. There was a knock at the door, and since just last week I had succumb to the temptation to be normal and opened the door to a 15 minute presentation where I wishy-washily told the guy to come back later when the man of the house would be home, I decided it best to go back to what works...don't open the door. Alice came from the kitchen, where we had been painting pre-knock, to find me cowering behind the door. Quickly, I tried to mime to her to get back in the kitchen. It wasn't working. I tried again in that voice that wants to be a whisper but just isn't.
"What Mama? Who's at the door?"
"Shh, Alice. Be quite. See, it's a stranger at the door and we don't open the door for strangers."
"Are we hiding from them so they don't come in our house?"
"They're not gonna come in our house. We just don't want them to know we are here."
I don't know if I'm scarring Alice for life by teaching her that sometimes Mama hides behind the door when people knock. I hope I'm not encouraging her to be a hermit or anything. However, until I grow a backbone and learn to say no to college kids selling magazines to fund their trip to NYC, it's not worth the risk in opening the door. I do love me some Joe Corbi's though, so if you know of anyone selling, send them my way!