Halloween came and went. And for those of you who know the Hopping family, you know the Hopping family DOES Halloween up.
This year we had a theme we were going with and it all went kablooey at the last minute.
That’s fine, us Hoppings, (both former Theatre majors) had something else up our sleeves.
The costumes contrived and genius as we thought they were, were not, I repeat, NOT, a hit with the general public.
On the contrary, there was maybe one person who got it. I’m not even sure if they got it, or if it was one of those “I don’t know that I really want to engage in conversation right now with strangers so I’m just going to say, “Great costumes. Really great! And walk away.”
I found myself wishing I had brought literature tracks with me to hand out of the “wardrobe”. Little thin copies of C.S. Lewis brilliance. Then I could have said “Take this, it will fill your insatiable hunger for delight and imagination and truth.” Leave it to the Hoppings, and Meredith in particular to make Halloween a dramatic meta experience for 4 year olds.
Unfortunately (fortunately?) I didn’t have the resources or the room in my wardrobe to have 50+ copies of the book on me. So I went through the painstaking process of explaining:
“No, that isn’t the Cowardly Lion and Glinda. And no, I am not the house that fell on the Wicked Witch”.
“Would you like to look in the wardrobe? (Because I had pieces of fur on a dowel, a landscape of Narnia and an battery light behind the lamp-post.) The kid looked in, even grabbed a piece of fur (slightly awkward due to placement of said fur) and said “Neat”. As he passed us he turned to his Mother and loudly said:
“Totally didn’t get it”.
We had decided to get Flingers with our friends Deb and Greg and Wolfie who were traipsing around with us. As Mr. Flanders, a Starbuck’s Barista and Ronald McDonald, one had to wonder if they felt the heavy burden of going around with this abstract trio.
Ronald was a huge hit. Huge!
But as soon as we got our table it was clear it wasn’t going to work. So Deb and I in our maternal wisdom (desperation?) decided to walk the kids back to their apartment (a few blocks away), and then the gentleman could bring the pizza over there.
My little White Witch was absolutely enamored with the moon. She kept shouting “My moon!”To which I try to convince her every time, “No Eleonore, we all share the moon”. She didn’t like this, and apparently the weariness of the day caught up to her right at that moment.
She began to refuse to sit in the stroller. With all her heart, mind and strength. When I very firmly and clearly said “No you will not get out”, she turned around and said “Deb?” hoping that Deb would give her the answer she wanted.
And with a voice that seemed to have come from the power behind the White Witch himself (get it?), she bellowed:
“NO, NO, NO” all while pointing at Deb.
I was mortified. But just had to keep pushing my child to the house. There was no point in saying “you have a time out when we get to Deb’s”, because she wouldn’t get why she had a time out by the time we got there.
When we reached the promised land of the house, My White Witch took off her fur cape and her crown, and Ronald McDonald got a bath to take off the red stuff in his hair. Eventually they were both just in diapers and t-shirts, running around willy nilly stuffing pizza in their faces.
Us four adults sat exhausted, stuffing pizza in our faces.
It was messy, it was icky, it was exhausting. But in the midst of all of it, I couldn’t get out of my mind, that sometimes church planting is like that. You can go days on end feeling like you are going around in a costume no one gets. With a vision that no one gets, with passions that no one seems to understand. And then when they do it doesn’t always look like you thought it would. It doesn’t always look clean and neat and pretty. Sometimes church planting is sitting exhausted with a piece of pizza in your hand, and a piece in your mouth with a cup of (here comes a confession) Coca-Cola (shudder), while your child runs around in a diaper and a borrowed t-shirt.
And you choose joy in that moment. Because you’ve felt it before, and you know it’s there. You’ve heard it, the name of Aslan. And it is that name that causes you to keep going on the days that no one gets it, until someone gets it. Because they will, and oh what beauty that is.
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe