The Other I

November 11, 2014

Selling God

We get a lot of unsolicited calls at our door in this little village.  If it’s not a delivery of something we have ordered, it is inevitably a request for money or a workman offering to give us a price to pressure-wash our drive or roof, or do work on our garden.

Yesterday, when my husband answered the doorbell he was met by a well-dressed woman, probably in her mid-sixties, who spoke with a mid-west American accent.  She was carrying several bibles.  I was on my way out to the garden and so by chance was standing in the entrance hall.  The conversation went something like “Good morning, Sir.  It is a lovely morning, isn’t it?  I was wondering:  have you ever thought about what makes you happy?”

I let out a noise which can probably best be described as something between a cough and a snort.  My husband paused, and then said in a not-unlikely but firm voice “Go away.  Just go away.”  She smiled, replied “”All right.  Have a good day” and left.

I have been wondering what I would have said had I been the prime combatant – err, I mean conversationalist – at the door.  I would have been tempted to ask how anyone can sell happiness as a payment for Christian belief in a crucified Saviour.  Or I might have mentioned the quote from Aristotle taught to us as children by my father who said that happiness is a by-product, not something that can be acquired by going after it directly.  Or if I was really going to take her on, I might have mentioned that I was a psychologist, and thinking about what makes people happy is something I have done all my professional life.

Come to think of it, I think it was a good thing I wasn’t the one who answered the door.

What do you think?  What would you have said:  Have you ever thought about what makes you happy?



  1. I very much like your husband’s answer!! Not sure what I would have said. Probably something along the lines of… “What makes me happy? Definitely not strangers knocking at my door, trying to sell me something”.
    Your husband’s reply is much more direct and to the point, far preferable!


    Comment by Kathleen — November 11, 2014 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

    • The more I think about the long discussions I would be tempted to get in to, the more I agree with you.


      Comment by theotheri — November 12, 2014 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  2. chocolate


    Comment by kateritek — November 11, 2014 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

    • Oh, but definitely with nuts!


      Comment by theotheri — November 12, 2014 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

  3. Terry, This is hysterical! One time recently a young man and woman were at m y front door just as I was opening it to retrieve the trash cans, the pick-up having ocurred earlier in the morning. they had their bible and asked if they could read something to me. I said sure you can while you walk with me to the cans. They read something and I said, “That is how people who lived on the flat earth saw it. However, now that we know that everything began with a big bang 13.7 billion years ago and it is still reverberrating and expanding, and now that we know there are billions of gallaxies and zillions of stars and our tiny blue dot rolls around the sun once a year, we can think of the Divine differently.” It went on for a bit…their god punishing just as we would punish bad children… and me with my Dreikurs and Adler saying how I didn’t think punishing children was helping their development one bit and how I thought that made “God” just like us …punishing, threatening, having all these shoulds and should nots” etc and how I felt the BIG IS is such a big mystery and so far beyond me that I thought if we simply loved one another and forgave endlessly and laughed at ourselves a little bit more it would be such a better world… blah blah blah… and by the time we reached the cans they were totally stunned and an older couple waiting for them just at the end of our property cought my eye…their mouths agap and wild pity for me obvious on their faces… I wished them a lovely day and rest of their lives… and took my cans back to the house. It was the most fun I had with fundamentalists EVER! Hugs, Beth

    Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:20:36 +0000 To:


    Comment by E Bastasch — November 11, 2014 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

    • Oh, Beth, wonderful! Do you ever wonder if these kind of conversations ever make a difference down the line? My sense based on my own responses sometimes years later to things people have said is that sometimes they do. I often think of those zillions of one-celled organisms that excreted oxygen into the atmosphere for several billion years — a change that ultimately made it possible for us humans to call earth our home. They couldn’t possibly have known. They were just living. Just as those bees and insects out there in the fields today don’t know how important they are for our survival. But they are. Maybe we have moments like that, too, that we can never possibly apprehend ourselves. One can hope… Terry


      Comment by theotheri — November 12, 2014 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  4. This reminds me of when I opened the door to some JWs who wanted to know my views on the menopause. Quite a random ‘way-in’ to their core message. I had them in for a chat, until one of them lapsed into a diabetic hypo and needed to crack into my biscuits…
    ‘What makes you happy’ is a good blog topic though. I like to think that that should be worked out by trial and error though.


    Comment by sanstorm — November 12, 2014 @ 10:09 pm | Reply

    • You are only the second person whom I have heard say that they invited JW’s in for a chat. Why? What were you thinking you might accomplish or gain? Was it really a question about menopause?

      On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 10:09 PM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — November 13, 2014 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

  5. Hi again, thanks for liking a recent post on my site. I feel a bit sorry that I have to delete that post (as I did with a previous announcement post) before the next post is up. Hope you’ll understand!

    I think thinking about personal happiness is like wondering whether one is more comfortable sleeping with his beard over the blanket or tucked underneath it. The question can prick at you so much that whatever you do seems to be wrong. So, my answer would be: just live every day to its fullest and find beauty and serendipity in everything!

    I look forward to your next post 🙂


    Comment by The A-Philosopher's Chair — November 13, 2014 @ 7:26 am | Reply

    • And I’m looking forward to the next offering from A-Philosopher’s Chair 🙂


      Comment by theotheri — November 13, 2014 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

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