Monday, November 12, 2007

Boundaries

The woman came right up to me and said,


"I just won't be able to leave this store if I don't speak to you."

My eyes widened.

It is not often that anyone speaks to me at the thrift store.

[Though I occasionally like to pull out really heinous Christmas sweaters - or the equivalent - and, while wearing a mischievous grin, tell the nearest person that I think the item would look great on them.]

I admit, I was curious.

Why did she need to talk to ME? Why couldn't she leave the store without doing so?


She took another step towards me and was so close that, I swear, I thought she might mean to kiss me.

"I need to tell you that God is waiting for you," she said and launched into a sermon.

[deep breath]

I fully support every person's right to make their own religious choices and practice their faith freely and openly.

So... out of respect for her need to speak, I tried to hear what she felt called to say.

Two things tripped me up.

First, she was standing much too close to me.

I don't have particularly heightened personal boundary issues, but whoa.

Way. too. close.


Secondly, her breath was so bad that I could not concentrate on a word she said.

I am sure she had good intentions, but I found myself becoming increasingly angry and, quite frankly, offended.

She said something about how the lord wanted me to sit down at his table and dine with him and then she stepped EVEN CLOSER and asked me if there was anything she could do for me.

Though I so badly wanted to, I chose NOT to scream,

"STEP OFF, DRAGON BREATHING, EVANGELICAL CLOSE-TALKER!!!"

[Because that would not be respecting her practice or her need or whatever.]

I said, "no thank you."

She looked imploringly at me.

"Do you feel like you've said what you needed to say to me?" I asked.

She said that she had.

"Okay then. Thanks very much," I said, walking away and carrying on with my shopping.

I found myself getting angrier and angrier about the interaction -- and more and more offended.

While I respect her right to practice her religion I wonder if she has any idea how she made me feel.

Personal boundary and halitosis issues aside, she made me feel incredibly judged.

She chose me out of all the other people in that store because she decided I needed to be saved.

How would she know whether or not I am already saved?

What is it about me that looks so desperately evil, lost or sad that she would need to single me out like that?

Why am I so angry at her?



106 comments:

~Amber~ said...

Oh.My.Word! I would have definitely been offended. I feel the same as you; Everyone has a right to their beliefs, but don't push them on me. And don't pick a day that I am enjoying my shopping to do so. And yeah, the dragon breath would have made me puke on her shoes and then tell her looks like her shoes needed to be saved.

slouching mom said...

Oh, J. There's nothing about you that made her choose you. She probably saw in you an openness, the same openness that led you to say, "Do you feel like you've said what you needed to say to me?"

And that you said those words, and not different words? That's why I love you.

Zaya said...

You really have to wonder about some people. Was she doing that to everyone at some point in time? Honestly, you have more patience than I do. I walk away.

deb said...

She sounds like a wing nut and it had nothing to do with you. You were kind in listening to her, it's more than I would have done I think.

naginata said...

I agree with Slouching Mom. She saw something in you that she responded to. Sometimes I wonder if human interaction is what these people need and the religious spiel is the only way they are comfortable getting it.
I love that you were able to communicate without losing your dignity.
I'm loving you over here too. :)

QT said...

Wow - you did way better than I would have in the same situation. If that is any consolation...

That being said, I think we all feel angry or violated when someone else tries to impose their morality on us without first trying to understand WHO we are.

slackermommy said...

I would have felt the same way. I get very irritated when someone is shoving their religious views down my throat and especially if it was uninvited.

A couple years ago we had an uninvited visitor from a church. I was not home and my much too nice husband told her to come back when i was home. I could have killed him. It took months and having to be rude to get these people off my back. I told them that I was a practicing Catholic and even placed a Catholic window sticker on my front door but they kept coming back. They would drop off books and videos as if I was their pet project in need of being saved. I think their lack of boundaries is very rude.

You have every right to be angry. No one has the right to bombard another person with their personal, religious or political views. Period.

JCK said...

These are the kind of things that make me insane. Personally, I feel that you handled it admirably. I've always been a magnet for these type of encounters. And it feels like a personal violation and does the opposite of what the person intends. Or so I would think.

On Halloween night, while I was getting my kids in their costumes, my husband answered the door. Expecting to see an early trick-or-treater, instead he encountered a man with a GIANT cross attached to his back. My husband said it was at least 6ft long. "Have you been saved?," he asked. Scary ways of spreading "the word."

Jen said...

Remember when that woman in the grocery store walked up to you to show you the sign that said "our new crap"? Nothing like that would have ever happened to me. I think there must be something about you that attracts people, makes them feel like you're approachable. Sometimes it works out in your favor (like with the "crap" sign) and sometimes not (like with this). All I know for sure is that you were much calmer and kinder than I would have been. It's understandable that you're angry, it was totally out of line for her to do that.

CamiKaos said...

as much as she has a right to her beliefs you have a right to yours...


Maybe you feel like she didn't know that.

mothergoosemouse said...

I'd have been livid.

Not because I cared about being judged - I'm used to that - but due to her presumption that I actually cared.

You're a kind and wonderful person, and as far as I'm concerned, religion is not a prerequisite of being kind and wonderful.

TX Poppet said...

You looked like the person least likely to hurt her. She simply felt safe approaching you.

My standard reply? Well thank you so much for sharing the good news. Have a blessed day. I find it works equally well for evangelicals and hari krishnas.

Jenifer said...

You showed a lot of restraint. Personal boundary issues apply no matter what the cause.

That has never happened to me out, but we do get quite a few knocks on the door. I get riled when after I politely thank them, but tell them "no thanks" they keep talking or try to talk to the girls.

I asked one once, "if I knocked on your door do you think I could convince you to switch to my religion?" Come to think of it we haven't had as many knocks lately.

Rimarama said...

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn't be angry at an encounter like that. It's like getting a phone call from a telemarketer during dinner time (whose breath you can smell over the wire, to boot.)

Ugh. I just don't understand how it is that people think approaching someone in this way would ever endear them to their way of thinking?

Amy said...

Handled with much grace. I'd have been tempted to tell her about the newly published book "An Index of Religiousity". It actually has a list of who is saved. I'd ask for her name so I could see if she's listed.

Jesh...Nutjob.

painted maypole said...

you're angry because it's not PERSONAL. she didn't know anything about you. I am always surprised by these people - have they really EVER had anyone respond well to such an approach?? It's appalling, presumptious, and completely discounts you as a person. It becomes about HER and what she has to do, instead about YOU and RELATIONSHIP, which is what God calls us to be in with each other.

You handled it beautifully, by the way, and should be proud.

Deb said...

You are one of the few people I "know" (know? that's weird, isn't it?) who handles self-reflection without being maudlin or self-absorbed. (Dare I say? You have a sense of humor about it!) But I suspect she just thought you looked approachable and wouldn't tell her to just eff off. Unlike me. Crazy people are a little like dogs -- they sense nice. They don't usually approach me. Maybe we should shop together.

NotSoSage said...

My ex-boyfriend's family was very religious, and his father wrote a set of small leaflets on different topics related to Christianity. I remember reading one that used a couple of examples to explain that breach of boundaries you felt. He wrote that he'd come across two novels in which an interaction with an over-zealous Christian evangelist was compared to unwanted sexual advances. One in which the author wrote after, on a blind date, her date asked out of the blue "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour", "I wouldn't have been more surprised if he'd reached across the table and grabbed my breast."

It's true, though, evangelism can be demeaning and invasive and people need to be sensitive to that. As Cami said, you have as much of a right to not have to defend your faith as she does hers.

Veronica Mitchell said...

The combination of setting, hygiene and unawareness of personal space suggests to me it may have been more about mental illness than proselytizing.

As for the anger - I get angry at some missionary efforts, too, and I am a Christian. It is always offensive when someone treats you like an object for conversion rather than a person.

ImpostorMom said...

It sounds like you handled it beautifully. Not sure I could have done the same. I would have been livid and most likely disrespectful because she was being so disrespectful. Good for you, the bigger person.

I'm with you on to each their own but the getting in your face is unacceptable. Especially since it was totally unprovoked.

DD said...

Now unless you were walking about with your hands making the devil horns up by your forehead and waggling your tongue at everyone going by, try not to be offended.

You were probably shopping alone and that made you more approachable by her. You were probably the 12th person she stopped out of the 30 that day alone. And if you went back tomorrow, she'd probably act as if she never saw you before and spring right into her speech (for which you should demand she take a tic-tac first).

You may have been offended, but take heart, she probably feels good just to know someone listened to her and that should make you actually feel pretty good that you remained polite, even if you felt intruded upon.

Bastet said...

Wow, you handled that better than I would!

Kyla said...

You, friend, were the one who walked away from that encounter with grace...religion or no.

Moments like these make me cringe. Forcing your religion on someone will never draw them in, it always has the opposite effect. I don't know why people can't understand that. Are they not human? Can they not put themselves in someone else shoes before barging into their personal space and handing out judgments? Ack. It kills me.

Sarcasm Abounds said...

J, you gotta realize that even religious zealots have quotas.

You freakish Ranger-obsessed Sinner, you. . . ;P

SA

Paige said...

People who listen get singled out like that. Happens to me all the time, as you well know. Though I can't blame you for feeling a little angry about the exchange, you showed great grace and restraint in not telling the lady to get the hell out of your personal space and keep her views to herself.

If you run into her again, you should ask her if she accepts the National Park Ranger as her sexual savior.

Then run for your life.

Sugarplum's Mom said...

Wow Jess, I don't know if I would have been able to show so much restraint. What is so furstrating about situations like that is that she made a snap decision about you without knowing a single darn thing about you.

Sarcasm Abounds said...

Heh, apparently Paige and I are riding the same wavelength today...

Annie said...

"She chose me out of all the other people in that store because she decided I needed to be saved.

How would she know whether or not I am already saved?"

This KILLS me - I have had those exact thoughts when someone spouts this kind of thing at me. I can't stand it and I would have been as angry as you in the same circumstances.

My MIL is a former Catholic - and now considers herself born again. She presumes that because I remain a practicing Catholic that I am doomed because I don't choose the exact path she does.

Sorry to rant - your post just touched such a nerve with me - I get exactly what you are saying - and how dare she get in people's faces like that.

karrie said...

Being able to smile and tell people like her that I'm an atheist, usually gets rid of even the most ardent proselytizer in seconds. Sometimes they sputter about hell or something along those lines, but usually they;re just shocked and don't know what to say.

furiousBall said...

this is exactly why i always carry a tambourine and an air horn with me at all times. one of the two will give you your space back, i promise.

Clink said...

I am shocked by her audacity! Sharing belief and faith is one thing, forcing it is another. Your patience and understanding is wonderful. I think I would have said something offensive.

Patience said...

People can learn more about religion and God by actions and deeds than any amount of preaching. Solicited or otherwise.

Lotta said...

This is my take on it. My parents would often say things like "I need to tell you how you made me feel". Ugh. As if it was my duty to bear the burden of their many emotional dramas.

This woman implied that you owed her your time and attention and then forced to you to listen to an obnoxious rant.

I would feel pretty invaded, both by the physical closeness, the breath and the speech.

But you are a class act lady, I'm so impressed with the way you handle people.

Biddy said...

it may have been the "park rangers make my hiney tingle" t-shirt...

seriously though, i would have been pissed too

Nancy said...

As a Christian, I am turned off by that approach.

I agree with TX Poppet saying :

"Well thank you so much for sharing the good news. Have a blessed day."

You are acknowledging them as a person and politely saying buh-bye!

Marilyn said...

I would have been incredibly offended too, and I consider myself a Christian. That's one thing I hate about some religious people, the need to push their religion on you without you showing them the slightest interest in it. If you just corner someone, they're going to be EVEN MORE closed off than maybe they already were! I was cornered on a plane once and while it was a short flight, it was the longest hour of my life. Do these people think they're going to get cookies when they get to heaven when they do this??

meno said...

I'm thinking she singled you out because if the "SATAN'S WHORE" tattoo on your forehead.

no?

Mel said...

A lot of times these are the same people who have the little flecks of white stuff in the corners of their mouth and a twitch. I wouldn't worry about what made her choose you - you probably crossed her line of sight. "I couldn't leave until I talked to you" is probably her standard come-on.
Don't worry, Miss J - you breathe goodness even through the medium of photos and the written word; I'm sure it's even more apparent in person. In fact, I wouldn't doubt that maybe this was why she chose you - she knew you would refrain from smacking her so hard her teeth would rattle.
I, on the other hand, am a cowardy-cowardy-custard. An old lady did the same thing to me on the bus the other day. Maybe I'll post about it, though I am ashamed of my choices.

3carnations said...

You were so polite. That was very kind of you, as I'm guessing a lot of people would not have been so polite. I know Christianity calls us to evangelize, but that's something I struggle with in some regards. If someone were looking for a church, I would gladly invite them to mine, but I would not be comfortable singling out strangers. As you said, how does she know you don't already have a church home? Frankly, I don't feel called to convert someone. If someone is happy with their religion (or lack thereof), I respect that. Should they be seeking a change, or something more, I would be glad to tell them about where I go. The close talking...I don't like that. :)

Worker Mommy said...

Nobody likes to feel judged! We're all just trying to do our best and it feels awful when someone calls you on it...

the end of motherhood said...

I think it was the Dalai Lama who said, "your enemy is your best teacher."

flutter said...

because she assumed. She assumed you needed saving, she assumed you needed her help, she assumed you were faltering without her.
Would have pissed me off, too.

Not The Mama said...

You handled that so well. I'm afraid I would not have been nearly so nice. I grew up in an evangelical christian home where this sort of behavior was not just encouraged, but actually required. I refused to do it (just part of the reason my family has disowned me) but I couldn't stop them from doing it when I was around, much to my horror. That lasting mortification makes me want to be nice to these people -- after all, they really do believe that they are trying to save me from a fiery hell. Even though I don't believe that, I want to respect their right to share their beliefs. But I just can't. I support their right to freedom of speech, but I just can't listen to it. I always have to ask them to stop or walk away. Listening to their sermons make me feel crazy and angry, so it's best if I just nip it in the bud.

Julie Pippert said...

She probably looked for the person who seemed safest and most comfortable to her, like a friend in some way. I don't think you looked like you needed anything from her...she needed something from YOU.

And you're angry because that is SUPER DUPER far out of line. Very justifiably angry.

I don't think in this case you must be polite and respectful to that degree.

When I get approached (and trust me, you know in the Bible Belt it happens) I simply say, hand up, "No thank you." and walk away, even if it interrupting them.

Only one time was I followed and troubled again, and I said, "This is close to harassment. Do I need to find someone to help me here?"

Julie
Using My Words

Karen Forest said...

I think it is your openness that makes people feel a connection to you.

She apparently wasn't afraid of you or what you might say and by your response she was right not to be.

You have such dignity in replying the way you did.

It seems to me that you behaved the more "Godly" of the two.

Blog Antagonist said...

UGH. WHY can't Christians understand that the only thing they accomplish with these types of guerilla tactics is to turn people off?

I would be angry too. Beyond angry.

This is the kind of thing that makes me nuts about living in the South.

Catherine said...

You should be offended. Offended that someone thought their way of living is BETTER than yours.

I received an email from my FIL. And everytime it pisses me off, you too can enjoy:
I want to thank you for my birthday present. They vary nice.
I like to say to you that there is a God and He loves you. He wants to save you.
I love you vary much!
Dad

My in-laws are familiar with our religious views and yet... yet we get this. And tracts. I love the tracts in the birthday cards.

Sorry to hijack your comments. This sort of thing drives me bonkers.bj

we_be_toys said...

Nothing like being approached by the fanatics! You were VERY nice to her, and she ran with it, just like a brainwashed zombie. (Sorry, it IS a personal peeve of mine as well) You are too damn nice; is it any comfort that you feel pissed off now, but were still far more considerate of that lady's feelings than she was of yours? I wish I could say I would have been as nice, but I don't know...

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

I suspect you just give off an approachable aura. It's not that you looked like you needed to be saved, but you looked like someone who would listen.

As for being offended, I'm offended nearly every time I venture into the world that is Shitty Town, AL and into the nest of "where do you go to church" zealots.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

You were incredibly kind to even acknowledge her and NOT hand her a tin of Altoids and run for the door (which is what I would have done...ha!)

I'm sure she approached you because you have a friendly spirit. Maybe you did look a little sad? She sounds nuts, though.

Maureen said...

Wow. You were a LOT nicer than I would have been....

Avery Gray said...

I think it was the "Beelzebub's Bitch" graphic tee. Next time, I'd just go with a solid color to avoid such misunderstandings.

Veronica said...

She just decided that you needed saving? Weird.

You sure you weren't whispering under your breath 'Oh god please just save me mumble mumble'? No?

Ah well, maybe you just looked nice and unscary.

Veronica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fairly Odd Mother said...

You probably just looked nice and friendly, and she knew you wouldn't yell at her to get away.

I will never understand that tactic. Does it EVER work? Does the person say, "Wow! Thanks! I do need some saving!".

I also wonder about those door-to-door people who arrive some mornings with their 'words' and little pamphlets.

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Personally, I would have been offended because the idea that I need saving at all is offensive. I don't buy into that idea in the game

josey said...

i absolutely am positive she sensed your openness. i get the same thing all the time, and sometimes it puts me in really uncomfortable situations. ultimately its a good quality, tho, and it was kind of you to acknowledge her "need" by listening politely.

i myself am a Christian, and i agree with all who said it is frustrating when those with our beliefs feel "led" to preach to someone in this way. obviously it provokes anger and hurtfulness in most people--this is not a good thing, especially with religion! :\

more than anything, like you said--"How would she know whether or not I am already saved?" this makes me wonder if that person really knows when it's the Spirit that's leading them or just their own need for something...

and who knows, im not sure how your personal belief system works, but maybe it happened for a reason, just to spur your thoughts, emotions and beliefs. im sure no matter what, you'll learn something from the whole incident. :)

thanks for sharing with us!

theotherbear said...

How on earth were you so polite! I am so impressed at the way you handled that - whether you were angry afterwards or not.

cronznet said...

In today's Telegraph (UK) an interview was published with Monty Python's Terry Jones re: The Life of Brian. An excerpt:
Jones maintains the position that the Pythons took on the release of Brian in 1979: "It is certainly not blasphemous. It's heretical. It's not about what Christ was saying but about the people who followed Him.

"Christ was preaching peace and love and humanity. Then for 2,000 years we've had people torturing and killing each other because they don't agree about exactly how he said it."

You've been lightly tortured by a non-toothbrushing follower. I hereby prescribe an evening with "The Life of Brian," for as many evenings in a row as it takes to restore a sense of balance.

Redneck Mommy said...

So many others have said so eloquently what I was going to. So instead, I'll just ask, how come you didn't mind it when I was in your face, in your space, breathing all over ya?

You've got a thing for me, don't cha? I KNEW it.

Wink, wink.

(And by the way, I only hope to aspire to acquire the grace and dignity you showed that foul breathed dragon.)

Beck said...

You're mad because a big weirdo came up and was all weird at you, including you in her Cone of Weirdness. One time a Crazy Lady came into my house and told me that the Lord had told her to heal my baby, who she proceeded to lay hands upon and loudly pray for. Um, that was disconcerting.

King Isepik said...

You're angry because she violated you. It's as plain and simple as that. I feel much the same way when people start preaching at me about how I need to turn to their particular flavor of religion.

"I have my own religion thank you very much, now step off and go bother someone who actually WANTS to hear your drek!"

I refuse to be preached at by anyone, because they do not know what religion I am - I don't advertise which religion I follow because I feel it's a personal choice - and they don't need to know.

Please pardon my rant, but that's one of my pet peaves.

crazymumma said...

I see her persepective differently.

I see her, this insecure person seeing someone (you)who she desperately wants to be like and she gravitated in her great need like a moth to a flame.

I understand your anger however, she accosted you and that is just unnerving.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I can't stand people like this! Don't get me wrong...I have a very strong faith....yet I do not feel compelled to force feed them to an unsuspecting bystander.

Not to mention....close talkers drive me to consider homicide!

wordgirl said...

You're angry for the same reasons I would be. Because, in her "pursuit of happiness" (guaranteed by our Constitution until the present administration finishes setting fire to it) does not take into account your right to your own pursuit. In fact, her pursuit trumps yours. Because...you know...she thinks she's right. And the right get to judge and acto accordingly. Even when they're wrong. Because...even if wrong? They're forgiven. And? We're not. So...we get the lecture. I'm right there with you.

Lisa Milton said...

It was probably equal parts her crazy/you're approachable and kind. Crazy people can read that a mile away.

Still, I wish she could have kept her self-righteous looney tunes to herself.

GGrrr.

Amanda said...

Mm-hmm, agreeing with the Slouch Mama on this one. You have the thing, that ineffable quality that gets the poll takers, petition signature requestors and the like to approach you. The alternative is being someone who would never post a picture of herself yawning.

And just as an aside, the last time this sort of thing happened to me was at the front door of my place in college. I foolishly thought I could dodge them by shocking with my heathenistic tendencies. It only further cemented their resolve, I bought myself a good twenty extra minutes of front stoop soul saving.

Bitsy Parker said...

Well, she was just a lunatic. Let's put that on the table. We can't read too much into this because she was a nut.

OR, if she wasn't a nut then she was a sanctimonious be-atch, which is infuriating.

She's just a little ant crawling around the earth who knows no more than you or me.

Serina Hope said...

I think you are perfectly justified in your anger. No one wants to be judged, especially by rude strangers with bad breath.
I am sorry. I think you are wonderful.

Erin said...

You are a better person than me. I would not have been nearly so polite. Sometimes things just get under our skin when there is no logical explanation. As for the space invasion and halitosis--creepy!

Mrs. Chicken said...

Because she made assumptions about you, judged you without looking, really looking, at you.

But from the kindness you showed her, in spite of your anger and discomfort, you showed the face of God to her, instead.

dawn224 said...

Probably because your last blog post before this one was all about helping people help others and she just came up and verbally sharted on you. I would have felt the same way you did. Except I would have rolled my eyes while she was talking because I have no patience.

Alpha DogMa said...

God is waiting for you? Damnit, woman, buy a watch you can't be tardy when it comes to omnipotence.

SUEB0B said...

One of my self-defense teachers taught me this: It is ok to be angry when someone violates your boundaries. It is okay to say "Back off," in a way that would normally be rude. Because you deserve your space in this world and if someone is going to violate it, you need to make a stand.

One time I came around the corner into my living room and found 2 strangers there. They didn't LOOK menacing, but hell, MY living room. So I used the Big Voice and said "Get the F*CK out of my house." They apologized - there was an open house on the adjoining property and they thought it was all one (an easy mistake). But the point to me was that they instantly knew where they stood - on MY property and that I would protect it. I didn't have to approach them timidly, because they were in the wrong.

Queen Karana said...

Wow. You handled that far better than I would have. I wouldn't have gone ballistic or anything - I'm too freakin' timid, but I probably would've just walked off or something. You were so NICE to her. I'm impressed.

Loralee Choate said...

She probably just took a look at how smokin' hot you were and assumed you were having too much heathen sex.

Family Adventure said...

Mrs. Chicken said it better than I could have.

And, fwiw, I would have been angry, too.

Heidi

holly said...

actually, i've been meaning to approach you about your spiritual needs for quite some time. (note to self : brush teeth first before trying to convert)

(further note to self: join a religion first, then try to convert)

the last woman who approached me like this gave me great joy by getting pooped on by a seagull a moment later. (well, it is cardiff city centre, she was looking like a bullseye.)

wyo said...

Because she really thought she knew you but she did not. And because you showed her true kindness, and she's never going to understand that, either.

Anonymous said...

You were much nicer than I was..when three friends and I were leaving a movie theater...a really deranged women walked up to just me and said the Lord told her I was going to burn in hell forever if I didn't find him at once...I told her I had just looked in the theater and he wasn't there..I also told her the Lord told ME she was going to rot in hell so I would see ther there...
Murderous Maunie

WILLIAM said...

Holytosis is more like it

Jenn said...

SM nailed it.

She probably saw a kindness in you that she doesn't see in others and took advantage of it.

And you didn't strike out at her. It's called turning the other cheek. The bible mentions it a few times.

It also mentions doing unto others as you'd have done unto you. Odd how SHE who professes to have such strong knowledge of the passages treated you so poorly and you, so desperately needing to be saved, exemplified the words that she thinks you need to read.

Hi, Irony? I think we have a winner.

Circus Kelli said...

I remember a coworker once "getting on my case" about attending church. He came right out and said "I *challenge* you to got to church..." I was VERY large and uncomfortable with child at the time and not in a very good place. When he said that, I seriously wanted to deck him. I felt he was a spoiled, egotistical individual that truly had NO CLUE about who I am.

And I know that when I get defensive for "no reason" like that, some of it has to do with guilt about something. I'm not saying you are, I'm saying that's me.

Too bad you couldn't have pulled a mint out of your purse and offered it to her.

Kevin said...

A little off-topic in regards to religion, but on-topic in regards to be approached and "why me?"...I was once at a diner standing in line to pay for my lunch. A guy came in the door, scanned the room, walked directly toward me, stopped, opened a case that he was carrying and said, "Let me show you these beautiful knives. You can have the whole set for...let's say 50 bucks." He had a whole set of kitchen knives, neatly displayed in a case that was obviously meant for displaying kitchen knives.

I said, "Are you kidding me? Do I LOOK like I'm shopping for knives here?"

He said, "I understand sir. Thanks for your time,"...and then left. All the people in line around me were just as flabbergasted as I was. We all had a collective "What the hell was THAT all about?" thing going on.

MamaLee said...

I don't think it had anything to do with you. You could've been the closest person to her when she decided to preach.

And I'm like you - I'm open minded, but people like that have a warped sense. They assume that others would benefit from their words.

You handled it great. xoxo

SouthernBell said...

As annoying as she was, could there have been something that God wanted you to hear through her?

Momish said...

You are angry because she showed no amount of respect or consideration. That is enough, in my opinion. You handled yourself in a finer manner than I would have.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

Maybe she reads your blog. Just kidding. I was at someone's house in Maryland last year for the weekend and on Sunday morning, we were out having coffee on the porch, a beautiful day, and up drives a big car with churchgoers and one of them gets out and comes and disrupts our morning by preaching to us for a half hour. I hate that. Don't come to me, I'll come to you, is what I say(never).

Above Average Joe said...

I get uncomfortable when they come to my house.
Admirable way to handle the situation.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

When I was in college a roommate, who percieved me having similar encounters, gave me a bumpersticker that remains one of my favorites to this day (although I ride a bike so no bumper for the sticker): Please don't pray on me.

Anonymous said...

About 100 years ago, when I was hugely pregnant and going out to dinner at Furr's Cafeteria with my extended family, that same woman came up close to me, breathed her dragon breath in my face, put her hand on my belly and asked if I were saved. My standard response to questions like that has always been to state clearly and calmly that I prefer not to discuss religion with strangers. What does it say about me that I need a standard response to questions like that? Anyway, this woman proceeded to tell me that my baby I were both going to burn in hell and all kinds of other terrible things were going to happen to us. Lo these 100 years later I still recall how horrified and upset I was that she had the gall to get so close and to touch me and say those things to me in public when I was huge and hungry and out with my family. On the scale of bad things that can happen, that really isn't so bad. I wondered then, and I wonder again today, why it bothered me so much.

carrie said...

That woman was crazy.

That's all I've got.

Simply.

Nuts.

KC said...

Yes- an openness, safety. That's what drew her to you. That and her schizophrenia.

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

As a Christian, I have to say that would offend me as well. I am sorry that happened. It amazes me how it can take so few to make so many look so bad. People like that make it hard to be open about your beliefs because everyone assumes that if your a Christian than you must be ready to whip out a tambourine and start getting in people's faces. Once again, I am sorry, that wasn't the right approach and that is not how all Christian's roll. Good for you for taking the high road...I don't know if I would have been able to do that myself.

The Chick said...

Something similar happened to me nearly 15 years ago when I worked in a restaurant. It still annoys me today when I think of it.

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

It's b/c you're so damn hot.

No way you couldn't be a sinner.


*rolls*

Sorry. I've had the same type of experience before... I just say something like, "What made you think you wouldn't meet me in Heaven one day already?"

There's also, "Oh, I am so relieved that you approached me first, because I was getting all nervous about the message God wanted ME to give YOU." Then hand her a tic tac.


John and I are more likely to just do nice things for people when we feel moved by God. Like by a random person's meal. Something like that. Sometimes we might mention that we love Him. Sometimes we just do the nice thing and move on. Seems like what the whole thing is more about to us, I guess.

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

Ugh. "Buy," not "by."

Yes, I re-read my comments, but only after I've posted them, so I can be a mega-dumbass.

Jo Beaufoix said...

You handled that so well but I would have had to back off or I would have covered her in something unpleasant.
I'm sure everyone's said this, but she chose you because you looked approachable and pleasant. You were just unlucky.
By listening to her you saved someone else, and you probably saved her a little bit too.

Claire B. said...

I'm thinking she didn't choose you in particular, in the way that crazies don't have a whole lotta control over their actions.

You are a nice person.

I would have said "GTF out of my face, poo breath."

g-man said...

Maybe God sent her to rattle your cage? Mission accomplished. :)

kittenpie said...

I would have been angry, too, because it is way out of line to corner someone and spout off without even asking if they are interested or giving them a chance to decline, never mind the boundary issues that would have me putting out on arm or steeping back or something.

I wonder, though, if a tiny bit of that anger is about not being able to find a way to remove yourself? Feeling trapped sucks, but I'd be mad at myself for not cutting it short and putting myself through it, as well as at her for trying to impose herself and her beliefs and her bad breath on me. Just a thought.

Christina said...

She probably chose you because you looked like an open person who was non-threatening. Lucky you, right?

Because let's face it, if she did that whole song and dance in the face of an aggressive person? The store would have been calling an ambulance for her.

I'd have been furious, too, yet would have responded in much the same way.

Tabba said...

i realize i am late on this one.

not to make a joke, but if i lived there ( or you lived here) i would have to ask if you ran into my mother (though she doesn't have dragon breath).
my mom has pulled these types of things with me & members of my family and she doesn't understand why people get offended.

you handled this with great grace.

imaginary binky said...

I try to look at situations like this as delicious entries for the blog o' crazies. Nothing serves up nice n' hot like a plate full of crazy sausage. I say grace before I eat it, of course.

Courageous Grace said...

I realize I'm a bit late to respond to your post, but wanted to leave a comment.

A previous commenter posted: "As annoying as she was, could there have been something that God wanted you to hear through her?"

I think this person is onto something. Perhaps God didn't necessarily want you to hear something from her, but was using the situation to give you the chance to be graceful. I have been in several situations where I became angry afterwards but then reflected on it later as a chance given to me to become more faithful to God.

kasogayle said...

Some of the people who have commented seem to think that all Christians do that kind of thing...believe me, they do not. In fact, it's only a very small minority that creates this stereotype for all of the rest of us. It's kind of like saying "You're from Texas so you must have a horse..." And, yes, I've heard that one before, too, being from Texas.