Halloween is almost here. This fellow will eventually end up on our front porch. For now, he sits in my dining room, because we don't want him to run off before the kiddies come.
I just stashed him there and went on about my business. Like an unwanted guest, he keeps popping up in my periphery vison, startling me for a moment before my brain registers that he is not real.
I've been a little on edge lately. It has been a tense month with all the horrid news of pipe bombs and anti-Semitic slaughters. I feel like evil is lurking around the corner, just like this silly skeleton (who, to tell the truth, spends most of his year guarding my wine collection in the basement).
How do you prepare for the unexpected catastrophes? Even the everyday ones can throw you, but when friends die, or children become ill it takes a little piece of you. It can feel like the bad is overpowering the best.
You may have noticed that I have written a couple of novels about bones and the clues they give us many years after they have lost their humanity. I think my Halloween bones can teach us something too.
As long as we cherish our humanity we can change the world.
Yes, evil exists in this world, but that doesn't mean we have to nurture it. Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Our actions don't have to be earth shattering. Donating a little extra at the grocery store for the Hungry Family Basket or a few bucks for cancer research can make a huge difference. Even courteous driving can help lower the stress we all feel. Collectively, we can heal our world. It may seem like a raindrop in the ocean, but that is how it works.
To do that, we have to be willing to remember, "There but for the grace of God, go I." We must try to see the world as others see it and if we can't agree, at least let's try to empathize.
Sometimes it can be as simple as keeping your mouth shut when an opinion contrary to your belief system is expressed. (This one is difficult for me, because I tend to be a bit sarcastic and opinionated.) In the end using words as weapons can only cause pain.
Remember the saying, "when you point a finger at someone, three of them are pointing back at you." As we head into the Holiday season let's try to put some meat on these imaginary bones. Let's try to see our shared humanity and make our little corner of the world a better place to live. A kindness done for one is a kindness done for all. I believe in prayer and its power to heal. Conversely, I believe that evil thoughts expressed or secret can cause damage and hate.
If you need more motivation, I can guarantee Karma is real and has a long memory.