This morning as I was finishing up breakfast, there was a knock at the front door. “Mom – it’s two old ladies coming up the walk.” Sure enough, two impeccably dressed ladies in their best Sunday attire were approaching our house.
Freeze frame. What would YOU do in this moment?
I’m sure many of you have had this experience before. Maybe not with older ladies in their church clothes holding bibles, but perhaps it was a college student selling magazines or even a young man offering his yard care services. What do you do in the moment?
Well, there are many options. You could ignore the knock at the door. You might even hide behind a curtain and peek out, waiting for them to leave. Some of you may have had your patience exasperated by the massive quantity of solicitors in your neighborhood, and you now post a sign by your door saying “NO SOLICITATION.” In any of these examples, you simply don’t open the door.
I will admit, I have done all the above. Yes, I’ve even posted a sign by my door. (Do you know HOW many people try to sell you solar screens, solar tint, and water softeners when you live in the Vegas desert?) But in recent years, I’ve come to view these door-to-door solicitors as more than just unwelcome visitors to my private abode. They are simply doing their job.
I am very fortunate that my previous experience in sales did not require me to go door-to-door or make cold calls. I have never had to experience the defeat of a slammed door in my face, nor force a smile with an angry stranger. I am blessed! The people who approach my door (which no longer has a sign), are received in kindness. No, I am not a sucker. I never purchase anything from these unannounced visits. But I do believe that my interaction with them has purpose. It provides them an opportunity to practice their sales pitch. It reminds them that there are nice people in this world. Sometimes, I believe they leave my house happier than when they arrive, simply because they weren’t exposed to hatred.
They are just doing their job.
Now I’m not going into a big debate about “if they don’t like the responses, they should choose another job.” That’s neither here nor there. The bottom line is simple: they ARE doing their job. I feel compelled to respond the only way I can – with love and kindness.
Which brings me back to the knock at my door. I opened the door and stepped onto my front porch, reflecting the smiles of these new visitors. The next few minutes I listened. Smiled. Nodded. I made eye contact with each lady and allowed them the opportunity to share their information without interruption or discourse. When there was a natural pause in the conversation, I responded with gentleness when I said, “Ladies, I appreciate the time you have spent with me this morning. I feel very secure in my beliefs, so I probably won’t be changing my views anytime soon. But I am thankful that you have such a beautiful day to share your thoughts with others.” I continued to smile as I shook both their hands, thanking them for their visit.
Then I offered them both a bottle of water. 🙂
Why did I offer them water? Because I knew the temperature today is expected to reach the 80’s and these ladies were dressed from head to toe with clothing. Surely they would get hot making visits all day long! Seemed like a pretty simple gesture of kindness, but you could tell by their reactions they were not used to such an offer. Although they declined the water, they left my porch with smiles and sweet chatter. It was then that I realized I was still smiling, too.
If these ladies return to my doorstep (which I realize is a very strong possibility), I will again welcome them with kindness and love. Maybe next time I’ll even invite them inside for a cup of tea. 🙂
Be blessed my friends. Even if you choose to hide behind the curtain at that knock on the door, that’s better than spewing out anger and hatred. Maybe today you will take a moment to listen to someone else who seeks your attention. Might be your children; might be a stranger at the grocery store. Take the time to let someone else know you appreciate them. It could make a world of difference for you both!
Have a wonderful Saturday and thanks for reading! 🙂