Tag Archives: giving

My Story 9, Halloween

Okay I truly absolutely hate Halloween. I realize that is almost un-American. I hate horror movies, costumes, parties, fireworks, everything about it. My brother and I went through a haunted house when I must have been about 12 and he would have about 10? And we were so scared by the end we held hands and ran out of there. I do like the little tiny trick or treaters of course. But in my last post I mentioned that children, in general, just seem to find me off their radar. I can just never think of anything to say. (Except my own child of course.)

But then last year’s Halloween happened. In the midst of a very very busy year at work, in life, I somehow agreed to tell ghost stories at the brand-new first-ever “Trunk-or-Treat” event that my church held. They found the ghost stories for me, I found a nice quiet spot in the graveyard, managed to hide my jet lag and migraine more or less, and people seemed to enjoy it all.

But in the back of my mind, I had an itch. I knew that I knew an awesome wonderful ghost story and I just couldn’t remember it. I could remember that it was a family camping trip and family friends were also at the campground, there was a campfire, and my dad’s friend, Mr. Somebody, told a story. And it was scary and creepy and at the end we were all rolling around laughing so hard, young and old. And I could not remember the story.

Anyway “Trunk-or-Treat” was wrapping up, and I had two boys show up about 5th or 6th grade? And I told my little ghost stories. The more talkative said, “Well, you did pretty good with that story but next year you need to find some better ones.”

I said, “Okay I’ll work on that.”

He said, “I could tell a story.”

I said, “Okay!”

And he told the story that Mr. Somebody had told! He told me the very story I was trying to remember! And he did a great job.

I’m not going to type it all out — but what a gift! What a wonderful miracle to have a tiny bit of childhood given back to me. And I had a good time chatting with these boys who were very funny. Their mom thanked me as we all stood up to go, but I said to her the thanks were all mine.

And I guess I have one story all ready for next year.



Luke 15 and finding help

I’ve been struck recently by verse 16: “He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything.”

No one gave him anything.

In a performance, would I say that with a question in my voice? With horror? With emphasis on the “him” — implying they gave to others? With emphasis on the “anything” — implying that these citizens of a far country are not giving him for free any kindness, water, food, clothes, anything? The emphasis on “no one” — not one person so much as gave him a smile of pity? Or how about disbelief — does this seem over the top and even self-pity to anyone else? Could the prodigal son, who missed all the cues of his own father’s love, missed the kindness of strangers? I could say it with disbelief in my voice. Perhaps the prodigal son, since he spent his money on dissolute living and not, presumably, on charity, does not even recognize a helping hand or a kindness now.

Or perhaps he has traveled so far that this “far country” does not follow the Abrahamic rules of charity to aliens in the land, the poor, the suffering? The Hebrew testament is full of these rules; it was expected, common decency. Would the listener be reminded that although Jesus eats with sinners, sinners too were to be treated with common decency? No one had to earn the right to be given bread. In fact, the sinners should be welcomed and encouraged to stop sinning, yes?

No one gave him any thing — maybe this, if not over the top, was the trigger for the prodigal son to “come to himself” in the next verse. Like a collage of memory scenes in a movie, he suddenly realizes: in my father’s land, we give those dying of hunger some soup. We have generous bread for even servants. He came to himself, maybe, not just because of the hunger but because of the contrast in cultures.

He starts the long trek home, one step at a time, leaving the pigs to eat their pods. And as soon as his father sees him, he is given all he needs, and he finds more love than he could ever have expected.