Why Opening the Door is Always the Better, Harder Thing to Do

What’s your initial reaction when you see someone at your door?

Hide, cringe, roll your eyes, and make sure you have clothes on? Yep, me too. I’ve pretended no one was home when I’ve heard the doorbell ring.

I probably analyze life a little too much at times, but I caught myself doing this years ago and asked myself what the deal was. I got down to the bottom of it and realized I didn’t like the awkward interactions.

They’re knocking because they’re selling something I don’t want or trying to shove religious views down my throat. I still think that’s the case, but now I think, “Good for them!”

I am actually a little envious of anyone who has a strong enough belief in anything that they’re willing to walk door to door to get complete strangers on board.

I always talk about how I’d love to do this or that in my neighborhood, and it’s all talk because I don’t have the nerve to simply knock on one door, so when a stranger comes to my door, I sort of think it’s the coolest, most brave thing ever.

The other day two older gentleman rang the doorbell. I had my mouth full of cheese, the radio was blaring, and my kids were running around being goofy. They froze, and peeked through the door and exclaimed, “There’s two old guys out there!”

I swallowed my cheese and opened the door. They had bibles with them, so I knew it was going to be a religious talk.

I’ve got my own beliefs that I never try to push on anyone, but hey, how I believe is how I believe. How they believe is how they believe.

I can’t fault them for being filled with a desire to share their beliefs. Again, I think it’s really stinking cool.

They read to me from their bibles and showed me some passages for a few minutes. They said they were concerned that people nowadays aren’t tuning in to the words, and they just wanted to remind people of what’s in the bible.

The interaction was short and harmless, and not awkward at all because I simply stood there and listened. They had taken the time to come to my door to share their insights, so the least I could do was stand there with an open mind.

There was no hatred or judgment in the conversation. They were just two fellow human beings doing what they thought necessary to reach out to other human beings.

I have no burning convictions like this that would warrant my going door to door, and that’s too bad.

When they were done, I didn’t try to argue or debate anything. I thanked them for sharing that with me. I said it was really awesome that they were taking time out of their weekend to do something they feel so strongly about.

They told me they came in contact with a lot of people who slammed the door in their faces and were angry at what they were saying.

That reaction makes me sad. I’m no better than the people who got angry and slammed the door, but this unwillingness to listen has me worried tonight.

We cling so closely to our beliefs, politics and cultures that listening to other views has become volatile for us. If the person talking doesn’t resemble who we are, we are annoyed and can’t fathom how anyone could be like that.

I admit I’m guilty of that. When I have friends and colleagues voice views different than mine, I try to ask them about their views, so I can shake off some of my judgment.

Tell me why you voted for that person; tell me what it’s like to be that religion; tell me why you’re a turd towards women. Okay, I’ve never asked that last question, but it’s been on my tongue several times in my life.

Man, it’s hard to get along with everyone, but when we can open the door to someone and listen for a moment, I can’t help but think that’s a good place to start.




About Rebecca Rine

Rebecca Rine is a nonfiction writer living in Dayton, Ohio, transplanted from Chicago. She contributes to the Dayton Daily News as well as public radio. Her first book of essays is called "Sunbathing in a Body Cast" and is currently working on a book about surviving divorce called "Face Your Divorce Poo." Yay!

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