There’s that good-looking young Jehovah’s Witness, S., who comes back to ring my bell from time to time. The first time, he just introduced himself and the other young man who accompanied him. He asked me if I sometimes thought about the state of society, whether I found things hard. Did I wonder whether things could be better ? Or something like that. I just answered his questions. I liked his shy smile, his young skin and admired his courage. I briefly thought of the number of times people must have shut their door in his face, or insulted him. I felt strangely comforted at the thought that some people actually care about things like the possibility of God, the meaning of life, salvation and hope. Yes, I can hear some people sniggering as their heart goes cold and hard inside them and disgust swells in their throat. “I thought she was clever. I had no idea she was that type of bigot. Thank
God I am not like that”. Well, vous pouvez aller vous faire voir.
The second time, S. came back with a young woman. I let them in, fetched the big green Bible from the bibliothèque, opened it, found some cards inside, covered in the beautiful and peaceful hand-writing of the lady who walked with me on the path to baptism some years ago. I found quite sweet the way S. and his learned friend were trying to find answers to my questions in the text. I was very impressed with their knowledge of the Bible. Of course, simple quotations did not answer my questions. I am a Catholic and I don’t believe you can just take a verse out and apply it to any situation. Moreover, I am a late convert, and my faith barely covers a deep-rooted background of scepticism, cynicism and, yes, let’s say it, atheism. I am one of those who want to believe in God and find it hard, but believe (feel) that therein lies the answer.
Anyway. I have been shouted at for talking to those people, and aggressively asked if I was going to become a Jehovah’s Witness now, etc. I have to say that is what some members of my family did after their arrival in the USA in the seventies, and it didn’t go down well at the time with other family members. But shouting at me for talking to them or implying I am some sort of easily brainwashed child is counter-productive. Why is it so hard for some people to understand that being religious isn’t necessarily the result of some brainwashing ? Why do they feel so annoyed and threatened ? What is the source of their animosity and anger ? Why not just ignoring us ? I still haven’t found a satisfactory explanation, although I have been on both sides now.
I don’t know much about Jehovah’s witnesses, just a few facts, and notably that they are considered as untouchable in France (dangerous members of a sect). I was raised by the French school to share that point of view and only talk about them with utmost disgust. Now it makes me smile. I am not at all interested in becoming one of them, and I probably disagree with a good number of their beliefs, but I will keep talking to them. I know they consider other religions as evil, especially mine (I will always remember how my Auntie’s face froze as she discovered a picture of the Virgin in my bedroom – she looked as if she had been face to face with the Devil), and I don’t care. People are people. People who want to talk about important things are more pleasant to me than people whose interests are limited to the latest fashion trend or the results of yesterday’s match (don’t get me wrong, I think sports are great and I enjoy looking at a tastefully dressed person as much as anyone else).
I told S. that I am a Catholic and I don’t want him to waste his time. He keeps coming back. Maybe he just wants to talk about God. Maybe he isn’t just attempting to convince me (which he is, of course), but goes his way trying to be a witness to God’s love.