By Anne Marie Kennedy
When we bought our home in Louisville, Colorado, my mother sent us a housewarming gift – a Céad Míle Fáilte sign, carved in bog oak, and though not exactly to our taste, out of respect, we hung it in an inconspicuous alcove to left of the front door.
One day I was home for lunch and the bell rang. The inner door was open and through the fly screen, I saw two young men; handsome and well dressed, carrying books, standing on the lowest of the three steps that led up to the front porch. ‘Hi, how are you today ma’am? My name is Bradley and this here’s my brother Joseph.’
‘I’m well, thank you,’ I said, holding the screen door open with my left hand, ‘but I’m just about to head back to work. Can I help you?’
‘On the contrary, perhaps we can help you ma’am. We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, and we wanted to tell you about Jesus ma’am, if we could just take five minutes of your time?’
‘I’m sorry but I’m busy and I have to get back to work right now so if you’ll excuse me please,’ I said, letting go of the door handle and reversing into the porch. Bradley stepped up, level with me and held the screen door open with his right elbow.
‘You’re too busy for Jesus ma’am?’
‘Frankly, right now, yes I am. Like I said, I have to get back to work, if you’ll excuse me, please?’ Joseph moved up and in for the kill.
‘Just five minutes ma’am? Like my brother Bradley just said, we want to bring Jesus into your life, show you how he brings spiritual awakenings, how he brings strength and success ma’am.
‘Jesus makes dreams come true, we can tell you how, if you give us just five minutes of your precious time ma’am?’
‘Sorry, but not today guys. I really need to get going here.’ I started to close the inner door, ‘if I could please close my door now, I don’t want to be rude, I respect what you’re doing but like I say, I just don’t have the time.’ They were undeterred.
‘You don’t have the time ma’am? Just five minutes for Jesus ma’am, Jesus, the Lord and Saviour who we bring to you here today, into your heart and into your beautiful home.
‘Jesus said the blessings of the gospel are so precious that we, my brother Joseph and I, have to share them with you and with everyone we meet.’ ‘Okay. I’m happy for you and I wish you luck in your work, but you are not listening to me. I am going to close my door now, okay?’
Bradley put a brown shiny shoe on the door saddle. ‘Jesus knows how busy you are ma’am. But Jesus will help you, Jesus will lighten every burden mam, Jesus will…’
‘Enough! Stop it,’ I said, my voice going up an octave or ten.
‘Ma’am, just five minutes to allow us bring Jesus into your heart…’
‘You’re not listening to me, are you? The answer is no. Which part of the word NO do you not understand?’
‘But if you’ll just…’
‘I’ll just nothing. Please move your foot, now.’
He stepped back, looked me in the eye, put out a hand and I shook it.
‘We’re going to leave now ma’am. Have a nice day. Jesus loves you.’
‘Good to know.’ I wanted to say.
They stepped back. The spring-loaded screen door slammed shut. They walked three or four paces, turned and stopped.
‘Ma’am, there’s just…’
‘No. Just nothing, go I said, goodbye.’
‘Ma’am, could I just ask what this really pretty sign here says?’
‘Right here, the inscription, what language is that?’
‘Oh, that, it’s the Irish language, from Ireland, that’s where I’m from.’
‘It’s really pretty. Can I ask what the words mean ma’am?’
‘A hundred thousand welcomes.’