Grace and Peace to you.
I heard of a Halloween party once in which everyone was invited to come dressed as their own worst neurosis. Right on. Halloween is an acknowledgement that we live in a trick-or-treat society in which we are continually manipulating how others see us, to avoid tricks and get treats. It’s a day to confess that we are not who we pretend to be. What we wear the rest of the year is actually a costume. Today we can take it off: today we have permission to expose our demons, to name our dreams, to confess how scary our insides can look sometimes, and even to scare the goblins right back.
As the little pirates and princesses come to your door tonight, you might imagine that they are mocking your feeble attempts to dress up as a responsible adult, to pretend things about yourself, to appear to be the way others want you to be, to present yourself in a certain way so that you get the treats you want. Don’t take their mockery personally; thank them for being honest about you. Give them candy. Let them nudge you to ask yourself how often you wear such a costume, how desperately you pretend to be someone you’re not, and how deeply you’re willing to be yourself, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Ask this: what would you look like if you went as your own best self?
Go to God and take off your costume. Get naked if you have to, to shed the illusion that we are what we pretend to be, and that who we are isn’t good enough. Let the Holy One give you courage to claim yourself, and to be yourself without apology or adjustment. Seek the faith to go out into this trick-and-treat world without a disguise. Decide to live in such a transparent way that divine love in you is always instantly recognizable.
You can be polite. You don’t have to scare people with all your inner demons, or parade your inner beauty. But you can be yourself. The one it will most frighten, at first, will be you. But soon you’ll notice that your own best self fits better than any costume.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes