Halloween was never a time of unbridled fun; for that matter, not much was in my altogether protected childhood. My remembrance was activity restricted: get in the car and go across town to family households. We got good candy, and popcorn balls, and little toys; the joy of flitting through the streets in costumes creative and flowing was for the other kids on the block. It wasn’t until I had my firstborn daughter that I was able to flit from door to door with my little ladybug. Look for the front porch light, they said.
I had never looked for a front door light, didn’t even know that was the agreed-upon sign.
It’s wonder for me--we look up and down the streets as we stroll, swinging loot bucket in hand, gathering super-cape and looking to the withering sunlight, feeling the nipping cold. It’s wonder.
Every day I find a new thing to wonder at, and this light-on-the-porch-everyone-knew- about has led me into various reflections on the nature of communication. Doesn’t it seem dangerously simple to misunderstand each other? I mean, seriously and dangerously so? It’s not the simplicity of the porch light in our world these days, and this increasingly distresses me. I learn lessons small and large about other people’s signs and wonders--at home, at work, in the news, around and about.
I am making efforts to pause and consider, meditate even, on the reason why people say what they say, do what they do. Pausing long enough can be downright difficult in a life filled with frenzied activity, and I think it’s that frenzy that leads to misreading, misleading, and the arguments that come out of this pace of life.
If we paused to consider whether the light is on, and we asked nicely, would we receive the candy of our dreams? Would the sweetness of real connection with one another be the reward? Certainly there would be more justice (not the legal kind, but the moral kind) in the ways we would treat even those most opposite of us. Maybe a little less trick and a little more treat. Maybe we would see the real in each other, just behind the mask.