Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

I don't believe in ghosts or spirits. But I do think the memories of departed loved ones can manifest themselves in our thoughts and emotions and influence the thousands of tiny, unconscious decisions we make each day. All of us are haunted by the joys, sorrows, regrets and triumphs of our pasts. But it's often the simplest expressions of affection that linger. The squeeze of a hand, an unexpected kindness, a whispered "I love you". Embrace the herenow because the interactions we have with each other today have the potential to embody a memory that lives hereafter.

I don't believe in demons. But I do believe in human beings and, being human, I'm apprehensive of the future unknown, afraid of the bad intentions of others and spooked by my own capacity for evil. But fear is not a reason to abandon reason. The effort of inventing monsters to explain and externalize the darkest parts of ourselves only denies us the best part about being human: our capacity for great good and our freedom of will to choose light over darkness and love over hate. For when we create devils into which to scapegoat the worst part of ourselves, we must inevitably create angels into which to banish the best, relinquishing responsibility and control of both in the process. We become nothing more than dry leaves drifting to the whims and mercies of invisible forces of our own creation or, worse, the creation of others.

This doesn't mean I'm not afraid of things that go bump in the night. It's just that in my experience, it's me stubbing my toe on the way to the bathroom.

And that is why I sleep with a nightlight.


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