In a local store, my little girl saw gory Halloween decor and said, "I don't like this place. Look at all the mean things." The checkout employee heard her and replied, "Oh, honey, its not real. It's just pretend." I could tell by the face she made to the clerk that my little girl wasn't buying it. So I answered my daughter and said, "The lady working is right, those actual items are not real but they DO represent things that are real." I could tell the clerk thought I wasn't for real.
Our family is all about the fall. We enjoy the cooler air, indulge in comfort foods, decorate with autumn colors, and participate in seasonal parties. But there is a darker side to this month that is a concern to me. Why are we rejoicing over blood, fear, knives, pain, chains, screams, death, terror, missing limbs and broken bones? Those are the very things that none (or, should I say, most of us) want to avoid in life. And yet, there is much effort and publicity to make it something we should all celebrate as if it's pretend. But I know from personal experience, those things are real and none of them seem like a fall festival.
BLOOD reminds me of the day my dad saved a man's life with his own neck tie in his workplace when a bomb went off from a box received in shipping.
FEAR reminds me of the night of the tornado that hit Joplin, MO where children and families are still in counseling over for post-tramatic stress syndrome
KNIVES remind me of the innocent landlord that was stabbed nearby after reaching out to help the family in need.
PAIN reminds me of what my grandmother felt when dying in her last horrific stages of ovarian cancer
CHAINS remind me of a college-aged girl I know that miraculously escaped the American sex trade in which she was literally chained in a warehouse for over 4 years
SCREAMS remind me of a very young local foster girl I know that reported screaming from the pain she felt when being sexually abused.
DEATH reminds me of all the thousands of precious people who tragically lost their lives on 9-11
TERROR reminds me of how our troops, including my cousin, who have fought and are fighting in horrific circumstances to end the terrorist groups
MISSING LIMBS reminds me of the children I saw on a recent trip to Haiti in which street children have been tortured to the point of brutal loss in order to make them work as slaves
BONES remind me of when my husband and I visited a Holocost museum and saw pictures and video footage of piles of mutilated people's bones
When it comes to much of what is advertised and celebrated in October, we can call it merchandise, entertainment, a tradition, or a holiday, but at the very least we need to call it what it is, REAL. Some of these items and events glorify harsh realities that are not worth celebrating. So what will I do with my daughter this month? We will break out the jackets, cider, decor, and costume parties and we will have a killer...I mean, a life-giving harvest season!