Let me preface this post by saying: today I do not look pretty.
I don’t mean that my mascara is smeared or that my outfit is unflattering. I mean that I look like something that crawled out of a swamp in a Jim Henson movie.
For one thing, I’ve been working furiously to prepare for this weekend’s craft fair. My hands have cuts from wire ends, my fingernails are broken and jagged, and the tail end of a ball of twine is dangling from my sweatshirt pocket.
For another, I spent a sleepless night on the couch, binge watching reruns of Hell’s Kitchen. My stomach and I often have disagreements over my meal choices, and last night was a rough one.
Because of my evening’s activities, my hair is loose and wild, my eyes are packing heavy bags, and my leggings-and-torn-sweatshirt ensemble is less than flattering.
So when the doorbell rang this morning, I was inclined to ignore it.
I hunkered down on the sofa, hoping that the people outside would decide I wasn’t home and wander away.
Assassin, of course, had other plans. She chose that moment to poke a paw through the curtains, creating the illusion that a person was peeking out.
I heard someone outside say “hello!” and the doorbell rang again.
There was no escaping now. So I zipped up my tattered sweater and tentatively pulled the door open.
Outside were two friendly ladies holding a collection of pamphlets.
“Oh,” they both said, taking in my appearance. Though, to be fair, it may have been more than my Fraggle Rock hair that threw them off. “We thought you spoke Spanish,” one of the gals explained.
I blinked. “I do not.”
“Do any of your neighbors speak Spanish?”
“I have no idea,” I admitted. I haven’t lived in the new house for very long, and I’ve hardly taken a poll of the neighborhood.
And with that, the first lady was done with me. She stepped off the porch and the second gal stepped up to the doorway.
She gave me a smile and brandished her pamphlets.
“We’re coming around your neighborhood today to talk about our religion,” she told me.
“Oh,” I said. “Well, I’m not actually…” I trailed off. I didn’t want to outright offend these smiley women who had braved the Oregon rain to come to my door. But I wasn’t sure how to say “I’m not interested in hearing about your religion and your god, so please get off my porch” in a gentle way.
“That’s okay,” she quickly said, opening one of the pamphlets. “We’ve listed several passages from the standard bible that we feel will help you understand what we stand for. Because we all believe in one creator, right? And we all believe in good, right?”
“Sure,” I agreed. “But I don’t actually use a bible.”
“No, I’m a wiccan.”
“Oh.” The ladies exchanged a quick look. “I don’t actually know a whole lot about your religion,” the gal at my door admitted.
To be honest, at this point I was anticipating the worst. I was expecting to be lectured about the dangers of hell, or least to hear about the virtues of jesus.
But I was surprised.
“Wiccans are very close to nature, right?” She asked.
“We aren’t so different,” she decided. “Nature, to us, is a representation of the creator.”
I nodded, surprised by her answer and the change in her tone. She no longer seemed to be reading from a script. Instead, she seemed genuinely thoughtful.
She wished me a good day with a smile, keeping her pamphlets to herself. Then she and her companion carried on down the road.
And so, my slightly rambling point is this: none of us are so different from each other.
We all have our own path, we all see goodness in our own way. But we all see it. We are all just trying to live in the best way we know how. We’re all just trying to do right.
I’ve had people come to my door with fliers for religion in the past. I’ve had people hand me pamphlets, ignoring the fact that their god and mine are not the same.
But this was the first time that someone has come to my door with the intention of teaching me about their beliefs, only to realize that we already share values.
And it was a much more pleasant experience. Definitely for me, and probably for the ladies at my door.
Wouldn’t it be easier if, instead of standing alone and screaming about our differences, we took a step back and realized our similarities?