Whew! We made it through another Halloween weekend. The only Halloween that I can recall where no ghosts, goblins, spooky sounds, nor terrifying costumes are necessary. Because this year, reality is much scarier than anything in a horror movie. Let's take a look....
Swine flu is killing kids faster than we can subject them to a deplorable public school education and, if they're black, send them to jail. The war in Afghanistan is escalating. Job loss is still soaring. And there have been recent spikes of murderous violence that is causing more and more people to live in terror even in safe, quiet, suburbs. Chilling.
But with the world in such a mess, it seems strange that anyone would want to celebrate a much darker side of existence. Perhaps it is an escape. An economic stimulus, maybe?And in theses tough economic times...blah, blah, blah. But, perhaps, there could be a much deeper theme underlying it all. If we agree that darkness (dark concepts-i.e-ghosts, murders, fear) are separate from lighter concepts (life, birth, happiness), let's proceed. When we consider that when we embrace one (i.e-life), we seldom embrace it's opposite-death, it seems that we should all be sunny and cheery or depressed. The reality is that we exist in a world where we these concepts are intrinsically linked. Life, even in it's fullness, will meet an inevitable death. Happiness based on family, wealth, or success is linked to the fear that we may loose it all. We don't need to look far to understand this painful reality. And sure, as Mufasa says, it's all apart of the great circle of life. Couple that with the fact that we can't all live in Pleasantville. And there you have it, modern day USA. We've tricked ourselves into believing that the treat of happiness is an illusion and depression is a reality. When we celebrate darkness, we're basically celebrating the reality of despair in someones life, one that may far outlast a commercial holiday. A scariness that may be all too real.
I attended a Spoken word show this weekend appropriately titled Last Call. But beyond a clever play on words (they weren't talking about alcohol) the concept of Last Call really resonated with me. I see it as the metaphor for life's ultimate drum roll and grand finale fanfare. With the current state of affairs, who knows where we'll all end up. The necessity to live our lives responsibly and FULLY has never been more real than now. Whether we choose to walk in the light or in the dark, we all must be reminded our days are numbered. That whatever gifts and talent we are given on earth to unearth the fullness of humanity, we MUST use. If we allow the darkness, fear and despair to consume us, wasting opportunity after opportunity, or the recklessness of youth to destroy us, we miss the chance to live boldly and passionately. And when the last call comes, we are riddled with regret and faced with death. It may not be happening to you and it may not be happening to me, but it's happening to someone. Right now.
I write, this, as always, from a completely biased point of view. I've always, always, hated Halloween. But I am always grateful for extended metaphor. So all sexy kitten and naughty police uniforms aside, (my parents would never let me dress up in slutty costumes). I hope that this Halloween you do just a little bit of reflection. About the dark places in your life, that you never entertain for fear of forcing them into light. Truth is, We've got plenty of REAL issues to lavish a good bit of screaming on. People whose REAL issues surpass horror. Those issues will not yield to darkness or go back into hiding on Nov 1, but rather push their way into the light, forcing us to face them. I hope that you are not too busy playing dress up to notice. The window of time is much smaller than we think. By the time your kids are coming down from sugar highs and you are recovering from hangovers, the world and its problems will come knocking on your door. Trick or treat?