by Colleen Kelly
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

It’s the morning of the day after. Not really, as Sandy continues to wreak havoc on the millions living in the Northeast United States.

We have much to be thankful for:

  • we had ample warning of impending disaster
  • we have emergency shelters open to anyone in need
  • we have large stocks of food and water
  • we have a system of medical care, that even during crisis, is well functioning, well funded, well trained, and for the vast majority of those it serves, able to respond

Things were not like this in Haiti. Or Indonesia. Or Pakistan. Or large swaths of Africa. But here, here in this country, we have so much to be thankful for.

Which is why it strikes me as odd that Governor Christie ‘may’ reschedule Halloween. Perhaps the storm would make the governor realize how ridiculous this thought is had it occurred two days before Thanksgiving.

And perhaps it is the media simply replaying one statement among many others of much greater import.

Or perhaps Governor Christie recognizes the value in keeping routine in children’s lives as much as possible when disaster strikes. There’s a comfort to routine, truly. Routine allows us all to feel that not everything in our lives in totally out of control.

But Halloween?

Halloween nowadays for kids is about candy, and gluttony, and how much one can get. For adults, it’s about costumes of horror, or latent promiscuity. It’s about hiding behind a mask.

Look around on this day however. Take off the mask and see what’s real. Devastation. Loss. Lives changed and broken. Real hardship. Children can see this as much as we adults.

Halloween used to be about the day of the dead. All Saints Day… All Souls Day. Christians viewed early November as a time of remembrance, usually marked by ceremonies honoring the dead. The real dead.

What we could all teach our children this year is up to us. Perhaps this Halloween could be a day of clean up and helping out, comfort and consolation for all those souls who have lost.

The reward will be even sweeter.

Colleen Kelly is a Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace and one of the founding members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. 

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