The Silent Gap

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This time of year it can be hard to keep up with the decorations of the season. Pumpkins, mums, Halloween spirits, and the ever present Indian corn. So many options and it is all so pervasive in stores; it can be little overwhelming when you aren’t participating. We live in the country on a busy road, and have a very long gravel driveway. We never get trick or treaters. If one came up our driveway I would probably call DEFAX and have the parents brought up on child abandonment charges. Anyone who would send a child alone up our driveway to beg for candy doesn’t really want their child anymore. Needless to say we do not decorate for Halloween.

My husband and I both grew up dressing up and trick or treating the neighborhood. It was a time honored tradition and one we looked forward to each and every year. As an adult who skips this time of year, I must admit that I miss having that pretend persona and eating all the sugary treats. I miss seeing other people’s costumes and giggling through the streets after dark. I still enjoy the frivolity but do not participate anymore.

For us we move from Labor Day into Thanksgiving without missing a beat. It also means we see everything for Halloween and realize we are not the demographic for those purchases. And we choose to not decorate because it doesn’t really mean anything to us. So between logistics and opting out, we pretty much skip the spooky stuff and head towards turkey and dressing. Fortunately both holidays include pumpkins. The purchase of pumpkins is our symbol of fall and gives us the ability to bridge the gap between what everyone else is doing and how we choose to move into this season.

It really boils down to choice. How do you celebrate and participate without judging  those who do things differently than you do? That can apply to work, dating, worship, career choices, friendships, family and how people raise a family. I think we too often forget that not everyone practices what we practice or believes what we believe. We get so caught up in our own way of doing things that we forget others are out there opting out without us even noticing. Or they are standing back trying to figure out how to connect without compromising their own personal values. And we trudge forward unaware that our practices or customs are out of their lexicon or understanding. There is a silent gap and only one side knows it is there.

As the holidays approach, take time this year to pay attention to how the ‘stuff’ of each event or celebration impacts those around you. Not everyone can afford to spend and indulge. Not everyone wants to be included. Not everyone feels the need to participate. These choices do not make them silly or boring or militant in their beliefs; it simply means they do things differently and probably for a lot of good reasons from their perspective. It is wonderful to want to include them, it is also important to respect their ‘no’ when and if it arrives. What’s truly important is that a bridge exists between their silence and your enthusiasm. Find the happy medium and celebrate friendship, comradely, joy and peace…and maybe include a little free candy just to sweeten the deal.

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