“I Stand at the Door and Knock;” Every Salesman’s Nightmare

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When I was 10 years old, my friend and I were trying to shake a young pest named Ruthie. She was half our size and followed us everywhere; dragging a teddy bear behind her. In our attempts to shake her, we ran headlong into a field of scratchy hay stubble. Ruthie followed us, anyway.

Out of breath, we stopped beside a rotting shed on the verge of collapse. When Ruthie caught up with us, we shoved her inside. She pulled the teddy to her frightened face; her blonde ringlets cascading like a waterfall over the bear’s fuzzy body.

My friend banged the door shut, and we leaned against it, waiting for the screams of desperation from within. We felt powerful and sinister. At first, the silence from within startled us. Why wasn’t Ruthie yelling at us, pleading for us to open the door? Her silence seemed to grow like a dark menacing cloud ready to pounce. We flung the door wide.

The bright sunlight lit up Ruthie’s wet, tear-stained face making her squint. She seemed to shrink before our eyes; appearing smaller than we remembered. A second shaft of light fell on the floor beside her where a dead rat sprawled among soiled rags and rusting tools. Feeling our cruelty in the pit of our stomachs, we fled across the field, leaving Ruthie far behind us.

As a young mother, I sold cosmetics door to door. I never got used to being rebuffed, and dreaded ringing that bell or making that first knock. “What’s behind door number one?” I joked to myself, trying to turn trepidation into adventure?

In sales, you hear terms like the “door of opportunity,” or when “one door closes, another one opens.” Doors do play a significant role in our lives, whether in selling or working to provide a service or a product. In one of my crossword puzzles, the clue was: “Means of access.” The four letter answer was “door.” What is your current “means of access” to opportunity?

As a child, I tried to imagine what was behind each door in my neighborhood. Who lived there? What did they do? What were they like? When we locked our doors at night, our family felt safe and protected. The locked door gave us a superficial feeling, at least, that we were free from harm. We were the only ones who had a key. When we bolted the door at night, it was like shutting the world out with all of its violence and evil.

Thieves can and do break in “to steal and make afraid,” but they usually come in by some other way: a pried open window, a break in the glass, a basement well unguarded, or a place left unnoticed and unlatched through carelessness. Thieves usually can’t or don’t come in through a locked door.

Jesus likened himself to a shepherd and his followers (believers) as the sheep. “I am the door,” he said; “by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Jesus was talking about the doorway or entrance to heaven, and that through him alone we find entrance and rest…”I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:1-7, 9-10 KJV)

Throughout the Bible, God uses the word “door” as a metaphor for the “right way,” the “straight and narrow,” the “entrance” to the Kingdom of God. He told Cain “If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” (Gen. 4:7 KJV)

At Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. And every year at Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus while Jews celebrate the Passover. Ironically, a door is used as symbolism for both, reminding people that the blood of the Passover lamb (representing the Messiah) smeared on their doors would keep them safe. “For the Lord will pass through…; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” (Ex 12:23 KJV)

Jesus is the Lord of the Old Testament. He came to fulfill prophecy and to provide a way for us to come back into God’s presence. His coming and his atonement are foreshadowed throughout Old Testament scripture: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:9-10 KJV)

Many people think that they can get to God through “some other way,” as long as they believe in God; whether it’s the God of Buddha, Hindu, Islam, etc. But in the Bible Jesus clearly declares that “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6-7 KJV)

Jesus said: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Rev 3:20 KJV) He continually knocks on the door of our hearts. He is waiting for us to open up to him and know him: “This is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3 KJV)

He is a loving God. He wants us to come to him and be saved. He forgives sins and listens to us when we call on his name: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.” (Matt 7:7-8 KJV)

There is no need to fear when we knock on Heaven’s door. Our faith is the key that unlocks the door of God’s heart and allows us to enter his Kingdom. We, in turn, can invite him into our lives by opening the door of our hearts and allowing him to reside there.

 

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How NOT to get Snookered — are your Vulnerabilities Showing?

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“An Open Book” 16×20 mixed media on canvas (SOLD) PRINTS AVAILABLE

Young couples typically want what’s best for their children. As far as reasonably possible, parents will fork over the cash to provide their children with the best. I must admit I’ve done the same thing over the years and learned the hard way that not every salesman is honest, nor is every purchase a smart one.

After going through several “duds,” I finally told my children they could ask for anything at Christmas time except those nasty toys they saw on T.V. Why? Because I’d learned that most did not deliver what they promised. A few items were not only unsafe, but downright scary.

Unfortunately, I have a soft spot for learning. If there’s a toy or a tool out there that promises to help my child tell time, tie his own shoelaces or eat his peas, I’m there. Convince me you have something to shorten the time it takes to potty train, and I’ll shell out the necessary bucks. Even promises to “equip my child for the future” may widen my eyes and indicate that I’m ripe for the kill.

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“With these Hands — Love” oil on acrylic under painting

I had on that sappy face the day an encyclopedia salesman rang my doorbell and greeted me with his eager enthusiasm. At the time, I had a one year old and a two year old. He drew them in and praised me for wanting the best for them. He showed me my children’s future turning page after shiny hope-filled page of his illustrious, illustrated leather-bound set.

I pulled my husband into the decision making, and he, too, crumbled like a cookie. We both swallowed the Rep’s spiel hook, line, and stinker. Too late we realized that by the time our children were old enough to use them, the books would be outdated.

With the advent of the internet, the whole encyclopedia business was a washout. I had to smile when a recent T.V. commercial showed an encyclopedia CEO telling his staff: “We’re back” while the camera cuts to a toddler punching a chubby finger on the “Buy” button of his parent’s smart phone over and over again. The camera then zooms out and pans the encyclopedia company workers boxing and shipping hundreds and thousands of books.

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“Through her Eyes” original sketch of live model

Most women are insecure in their own worth and beauty. Constantly on a diet, or trying out different kinds of makeup and skin care products is the norm. I myself fell into the hypnotizing web of Dr. Oz and ordered a “free sample” of one of his recommended products. In order to get the “free” sample, I had to give them my credit card information. Before I knew it, I was being shipped the product, without asking for it, at $100 a pop!

Although I was told when I complained: “There are many satisfied users;” their endorsement in no way made me smile. I had broken out in a red rash and pimples while using their product for only a few days. I’m still working to stop the shipments and block payments, even though I never ordered a single product. Again, I was told that “somewhere in the fine print” was a time limit for complaints. Sneaky!

Weight loss is another gimmick for selling products that don’t work or that may actually do more harm than good. Many products interfere with medications you may be taking. Herbal products often interfere with your metabolism and neutralize thyroid or heart medicines prescribed by your doctor. Be wary of all promises. You may end up like I did with an expensive bottle of weight loss meds that I couldn’t take.

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Art and Collectibles Display at show

I once was a salesperson myself, showing Avon products door to door in a time when it was much safer to pound the streets. Young and naïve, I thought that most people were pretty much the same. I learned that you never know “what’s behind closed doors.” What I saw, heard, and witnessed made me realize how different we all are in the way we choose to live our lives.

Selling is challenging, difficult, and disparaging work. Every time a sale’s “pitch” is made the seller’s reputation is on the line. This is the main reason I chose not to make this my full-time occupation. I simply could not sell what I did not believe in or trust myself.

“Buyer Beware” is not only sound cautionary advice, the reverse is also true: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”