Dec 9, 2005

epilogue: halloween

I know this is a bit old, since Halloween is long past. But since we started selling Christmas trees in October, I imagine I can go backwards a bit, can't I?

I shared some initial thoughts on Halloween in an earlier post. Here's what happened the day of... as well as an interesting thing I learned.

Since we decided to allow our boys to get dressed up and go door-to-door, this year the boys were dressed as Batman. And when I say boys, I mean all of the boys… me included. Katie was in the mix, too, as a makeshift Catwoman.

And so we went around our neighborhood in Holland like an odd Batman show, pulling our kids around in a wagon to each door with a light on. (Which - as a side note - what's up with that? I remember going to any house I wanted as a kid... what's with all this "light on" malarky? Isn't denying a kid candy where the whole "trick" part of "trick or treat" comes in? But I digress...)

We started early, so towards the end of our rounds around the neighborhood we started seeing more kids. Out of nowhere, this one little boy ran up to me yelling, “BATMAN! BATMAN! BATMAN!” He was dressed like a little Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars, and seemed quite excited to see me. Out of breath, he continued, “I didn’t know YOU were going to be here!”

And so I bent down and played into it with a scruffy, cool-Christian-Bale-Batman voice. “Hey kid, how’s your Halloween going?”

“Good! I’m getting a lot of candy. Hey, I wanted to know where do you get your costume?”

“I made it myself,” I said. “How about you?”

“My mom made it for me.”

“Moms are cool, aren’t they?” I said.

“Yeah!” he said. Then he got real quiet and serious and said, “Now... I want you to come back when it isn’t Halloween... Like, come here and to my house, okay?"

By this point a bunch of other kids came around and I started to realize I had a real audience. Caught of guard by the moment, I stood up and said “Hi, kids,” in a less-scruffy, more-normal voice.

The original kid piped up, “Hey everyone, it’s Batman!”

The others responded, “We know.”

So I said, “Now... you kids... be sure... to have your parents check your candy before you eat it, okay?”

“We will! We know to do that.”

Then I felt like I was on the spot. I had a responsible moment to say something profound, so I dove in one more level, perhaps motivated by watching late night Christian programming featuring TV's Kirk Cameron. “And... don’t forget... to share it... when you go to church... on Sunday.”

The kids all looked puzzled, as if they weren’t a part of a church and had no idea why Batman would say such nonsense. One kid leaned over to another and I heard him say, “I don’t think he’s really Batman.”

And so in one quick swoop I went from being “cool-Christian-Bale-Batman” to “dorky-Adam West-Batman.”

I can tell the first kid didn’t care, though. To him what meant most is that I was willing to bend down, get on his level, spend time with him, and make a connection that wasn’t there before.

Are you like me in this? Do you believe that simple things we do can often have a much larger impact in planting seeds than we realize? Outside of my dorky Adam West moment, I think what matters most to this kid is that I entered his world. And maybe someday he’ll hear about Jesus entering our world and will have this point of reference somewhere in the back of his brain.

I know it’s a reach, but maybe "loving my neighbor"… is kind of like loving my neighbor.

And maybe passing out candy through an open door… will help people know that we are the kind of family with an open door.

After all, how can you love your neighbor if you never get to know them?

Granted, there are times that God makes it clear we are to say something, too. I just think we need to be sure to get on one knee... maybe like I did... in order to do it.

No masks required.

    "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mk 12:31b)

    "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Romans 10:14)


Melanie Morales said...

Some poor soul someday is going to be working with this kid you encountered on Halloween; and this kid is going to be telling him that he heard about Jesus from Batman!

Jenn said...

What does Superman think of you roaming around the streets of Holland dressed up like Batman? :)