Is the road to hell paved with a vivid imagination? I’m sitting here watching my kids dressed up in Halloween costumes, at our secular homeschool co-op, blending in with the other costumed kids. My oldest is reading Harry Potter next to me and I’m wondering if this was the slippery road to hell everyone said it was, or if I was lied to.
Am I just trying to fit in?
I was never allowed to go to school Halloween parties, or even church harvest parties – the Halloween alternative – because they were still acknowledging the existence of the celebration of Satan.
And so I was taught to other. To see people as not as holy, not as Christian, not as good. We were separate because we were better. We knew how to not give Satan a foothold. Any crack he might try and sneak through was firmly locked.
I lived in a holy cage.
And so we all find other cages that match ours. Because we all want to fit in. We all want to belong with people who are like us. It’s the tribal human nature:
Where do we belong? Who are the cool kids? Where are the people who will make me feel less alone, less afraid, less self-conscious? How do I stay away from the people who are dangerous, are different, who are threatening to my way of life?
We divide and conquer out of fear.
In this world of tribes and sides, which one am I on? When I scale the fence and touch the greener grass, am I falling away or coming home? What would it be like to be the one with the shovel, digging up the posts that hold the fences up? What would it look like to tear the structures down?
Who fits in where? How can you sort people with no lines?
Is there a way to reconcile both sides within myself? Can I combine the faith I was given with who I am now? When Halloween is so much fun and Harry Potter is one of the best stories I’ve ever read and I feel no closer to Satan than I did when I was a kid, and it feels like everything I was taught was a lie – is it even worth sorting through the distortions to find any truth?
Where does a person go to fit in and where do we go where we won’t be creating ‘them’ as the ‘others’ that are not like us?
How do you channel the anger and the fear, the rage and the bitterness and come out the other side healthy and whole?
When you are taught how to other, and now you are the other, but then so are they, and there’s always going to be tribes and sides and black and white and rainbows – what does it mean to be alive?
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