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It’s Saturday morning and I’m still in bed, not ready to begin my day. The dogs are quiet and letting me be, so I’m just lying there, not thinking about much. The doorbell rings and the dogs start barking, so I drag myself out of bed, open the door a crack, and see two strangers. “Hi!” says one brightly, “my name is Jennifer and we’re just visiting neighbors with some encouraging thoughts -”

..at which point I close the door. Don’t even say “no thank you.” Don’t wait for the end of the sentence. Don’t say anything at all. Not that I wanted to be rude, mind you. I just wasn’t ready for perky Jennifer to share encouraging thoughts with me.

a random front door (not mine)

I’m not sure exactly what encouraging thoughts she had in mind, although they probably had something to do with Jesus. That’s usually why strangers come to the door, unless they want to trim my trees. Which happens a lot, because my yard is looking a little shaggy these days. (In fact, it did happen a couple of hours later.)

But back to Jennifer and her companion. I started wondering about them, and I must admit, it was almost worth jumping into a pair of jeans and tracking them down. Almost.

What compels a person to do such a thing? Who on earth has the time (much less motivation) to trudge around a Florida neighborhood in the summer heat at 10:00 in the morning, when there are about a thousand other things they could be doing? Such as sleeping in, like me?

Even in my brightest moments, I would never consider knocking on someone’s door with encouraging thoughts. Not for lack of wanting to improve the world. I spend pretty much all my time doing that, what with fundraising for a university so the professors and students can do groundbreaking research that benefits all of humanity.

Plus, I moonlight as spiritual leader for a small Jewish congregation, so that – among other things – I can be there for a woman with metastatic cancer who asks me to help plan her funeral, which she wants me to perform (unbelievably, this has happened twice in the past two months).

In the remaining hours, I spend time with my family. Oh yes, and study for the rabbinate. I most definitely do not have the time or inclination to go knocking on doors. I don’t even have time to dust or vacuum the house (full disclosure – those activities would not be high on my list under any circumstances).

But truth be told, even if my life wasn’t full, there is absolutely no chance that you’d ever find me ringing doorbells.

I hope Jennifer and her friend feel that they’ve done some good in the
world while sharing encouraging thoughts with strangers on a Saturday morning.

For me, there are better ways to serve humanity.

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