Trick and Treat

That’s right.  There isn’t a typo in the title.  It’s Trick and Treat.  Here’s why.

While today is Halloween, yesterday found me making my way into the city to purchase some gift items.  I called the day before and Melanie helped me.  She agreed to have things ready for pick up when I arrived in the morning.  And, yes, she would be there.  So the adventure began.

The day promised to be rainy so I slipped into my purpley-pink rain clogs, grabbed my tote bag and headed for the Metra train station a few blocks away.   Once there the rain began.  I reached into my tote.  No umbrella.  I forgot it and there was no time to run home.  Standing nearby was a young woman who also had no umbrella.  We made quite a pair giving each other that look of “Do you believe this?  I can’t believe this.”  Next thing a man with an umbrella walked up to us and without a word he moved in and offered us shelter.  We three huddled together waiting for the train and struck up a fine conversation that was not about the weather.  This was a kind and thoughtful man.  And it occurred to me that there is something about rain that dissolves the edges of our illusion that we are separate from each other.  Let’s face it, when we’re in the rain, we all begin to look very much alike in no time at all and we require less personal space than we do when the sun is shining.  Getting rained on, it turns out, is a valuable experience.

Once I arrived in the city, the rain had stopped and I walked north on State Street.  You know what’s next.  When I got to the store, Melanie had not yet clocked in and no other person could find my order.  Heaven knows those men tried with no luck.   I was told Melanie was scheduled to arrive in about half an hour and so I decided to check out the rest of the store.  It was then I noticed the red, white, and silver decorations for the winter holiday season.  I swear this is true.  And you Chicago people now know I was at the State Street (used to be) Marshall Fields.

Then my cell phone rang and it was my darling goddaughter-niece Julie.  Julie became a mother for the first time last month.  As we chatted I could hear the cooing of baby Tyson.  How delightful.  Not only was I having a lovely conversation, I was also listening to the sweet sounds of the first child of the next generation for my family.  While it briefly occurred to me to ask Julie to put Tyson on the phone, I realized that Tyson was already on the phone.  I could hear him just fine and I could talk with his mother.  I didn’t have to choose just one.  I could have both.

Melanie arrived as the call was ending and I approached the sales desk.  She was apologetic and quickly gathered my items including a few nice complimentary things for my inconvenience.  I thanked her.  Yes, I was inconvenienced and I had a wonderful time looking at the decorations and talking with Julie.  Now I know some folks who would see cause and effect in this situation.  They would say that Melanie was late so that I could have the experience that I did.  And yet for me it is important to hold difficult life experiences with the same value and reverence that I have for the more pleasant ones.  It’s a slippery slope to suggest that because we’ve experienced something difficult, we can expect something beneficial to follow.  First of all, it doesn’t always happen that way.  And more importantly, we then continue to label things as “good” or “bad” and get fixated at one point or another rather than be present for all of life however it shows up.

With parcels in hand I walked back toward the LaSalle Street Metra station.  I stopped at my favorite deli to order a sandwich for the ride home.  It was there I met the most courageous man I have encountered in some time.  The young man who took my order and made my meal did not speak much English at all.  Yet here he was, working hard during the lunch rush.  He struggled to understand what I wanted, kept checking back with me and we worked our way through the process.  He was dealing with hungry people who are in a hurry – a notoriously surly bunch.  Yet he hung in there and he kept at it.  Add to that he was pleasant to every customer although not every customer returned the favor.  And it turned out, he makes a wicked, awesome sandwich.  So here, too, is the co-existence of difficulty and delight.  Not one or the other.  Both.

So I offer this reflection to you.  Should you find yourself tempted to settle for the Land of Either/Or, perhaps you might consider broader vistas and travel to the Land of Both-And.  It is in that spirit that I wish you a magical Halloween.  Happy Trick and Treat, everybody!

My thanks to the directees who inspired this topic –

in Love and Service,



3 Responses to “Trick and Treat”

  1. Lauri Says:

    I have been slowly (and somewhat reluctantly) moving into the land of And/Both thanks to your direction.

    After finding I could not bleed my outside water lines due to a fopaw in the hook up of the water softener from last June (that I just discovered today) I was given the opportunity to make my annual Halloween lasagna with my son earlier in the day than usual….
    In turn this has also laid the path to share our second Halloween lasagna (I made two) with a family who is busy on the run today with all of their doings and who would probably not have a chance to have a home cooked meal!

    Looking for the And/Both has given me a much wider view of my circumstances…a challenge for me at times, and a blessing most….

    Thank you for this wonderful blog.

  2. Pat Crow Says:

    Interestingly enough, today I have been pondering the notion of miracles arising from dissonance. Were I not open to the possibility of miracles, I could have completely missed the joy of my struggle. As is true for me of almost every moment of my life these days, I have such gratitude for each breath and each instance of life. Thank you, Lorena, for once again bringing to awareness a most subtle level of consciousness. And your keen realization of the bravery in the young man who met life with a smile…and good sandwichery!

  3. Billee Burchett Says:

    Thank you so much for this story Lorena. We humans tend to only see the one rather than the many

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