Yesterday a man knocked on my door. I’d seen him going door to door in my neighborhood. I’d noted, impressed with his great greeting etiquette, that he rang the doorbell and immediately stepped off my neighbor’s front porch, waiting well out of reach of the door. It’s a pet peeve of mine, the whole door dumbness routine. You don’t knock on my door, a total stranger, and then stand smack up against the safety zone of the door as I open it to say “hello,” making a crowded and awkward collision of intention. If you know consideration, if you know thoughtfulness, you stand back and well out of the way and you show yourself fully from a distance appropriate. You give space. You make it clear that you respect a person’s home and the obviousness of your status as completely unknown. (But I’m not at all opinionated about this.) In any case, you’re doing well to get me to come to the door at all if I don’t know you. I have the same attitude about telephones. This guy had my attention. His body language was confident but something. I couldn’t pin it down. He didn’t have the dress or demeanor of a salesman. He looked like he was declaring something and his aura, his energy communicated something noble. Can a person look noble from a distance? So it seems. But I was curious. So, when my doorbell rang I chose not to pretend to be unavailable. I wanted to see if his greeting stance would be consistent.
He waited well within range of my vision. I was impressed, wanting to ask him to give lessons to all doorbell hopefuls. I noted as I opened the door that a family van was parked in front of my home. He introduced himself and let me know he and his wife, who was waiting in the van, had been laid off from their jobs. “Is there any work we can do for whatever you might be able to give? We could paint your house number on the curb.” I asked how much he would charge, thinking it a cool coincidence that I’d just noted the lack of a house number on the curb, once again, the same morning, wishing for an easy solution. “We’ll take whatever…$10? We’re hurting.” “Well, $10 is all I have actually and that’ll be great. Thank you.” He was amazed, his head doing that shocked jerk heads do when they’re about to turn away and go down the sidewalk with a frustrated body to the next house. His wife was amazed. I was thrilled.
The previous week I’d felt “led” to get $10 cash out. I’m paying attention to my intuition more than ever. A couple times I had opportunities to burn through the cash. But my gut said no. So, no. When he said “$10” my gut said “yes!” Sounds silly. But I don’t have cash on hand around here. Cash has a way of evaporating, proving the old adage about pennies saved and earned and not doing much for college funds or paint for house numbers on a curb. Oh wait…
Why bring this up? Why share? Why does it even matter, this whole “led” thing? It was such a wonderful feeling, to realize I’d opened the door in my heart before I opened the door literally. When I saved the $10, I was preparing for that moment without any truly logical proof of a great reason to do so. Intuition is such nourishing goodness. It, when carried through on the wings of “happenstance,” fills the soul with appreciation, thankfulness. Intuition thrives on hope and hope thrives sometimes when it makes very little sense. We all need hope. And courage. Courage to risk the seeming loss of face for trusting a process that has no hard and fast guarantees.
Knock on doors? Ask if you can do any house or yard work? Go door to door in your Dodge Caravan and point to your wife and stand there and declare shamelessly your need? Get $10 out for a gut feeling and hoard it like some old maid miser? I don’t do cash. I don’t do old maid miser. Do I? Say it isn’t so. No, it isn’t. If cash sits stashed in my purse, it’s gone as soon as a child has a wish. And that is often and fun!
But I have my house number on the curb now. Had I not had the $10, I wouldn’t. Had I not noted the sense of being “led” it would’ve been gone by the time my doorbell rang. And he’d not have had a surprising $10 moment. Besides, I found another dollar. He and his wife got $11 for the work. I wanted to give them a meal and jobs. You know what I appreciated more than numbers on a curb? The brief conversing with the couple, the firm handshake and receiving a verbal blessing: “God bless you.” I’ll take God’s blessing any day.
That’s the other thing. Much like an odd appearance on my front step complete with thoughtful regard for my boundaries, I’m discovering the emergence in my soul of a new appreciation for the mother and father heart of God, a God I began to give up on 10 years ago. I don’t really know this God though. S/he is not insisting on any religion or proof of existence. She wants to iron out details and make things new and paint numbers out of the blue. He wants to affirm hope and make a way where there seems not to be one.
My gut is telling me the timing couldn’t be better. And it was a perfect prelude to my walk across campus to pay, in person, for the fall semester of my second year of college at the age of 41. A 22 year gap in education (formal, that is!) found tremendous renewal today. There was no way I was going to do the payment over the phone. This had to be done in person, with son by my side. I wasn’t going to NOT go to school this fall though every fact and figure said otherwise. As it turns out, life responded with timely provision – just enough and at just the right moment.
I like details. And I like how life affirms us when we decide to dance with hope and courage. It births a nobility in the mean streets of loss and opens doors for all of us.