Here comes Halloween! It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? Time for dressing up, pretending to be someone or something else and of course, it’s mainly time for chocolate (if you’re like me).

With this time of year comes the expanding tradition of my husband, Rick volunteering his time and talents for the annual Ghosts & Goblins in the Garden event at the Minnesota Arboretum — an beautiful, outdoor Halloween gathering for children and adults. He makes his presence known all throughout the day as none other than: The Phantom of the Opera.

Last year, I was unable to attend the event,  go and see people’s reactions to Rick roaming about the crowd as a fully caped and half-masked Phantom of the Opera, but this year I was formally invited to accompany Rick as he roamed about the gardens as a fully caped and half-masked Phantom of the Opera. so I could experience first hand how people interacted with him as the Phantom, a man behind a mask. And here is what I noticed:

  • Some are scared and walk on the opposite side of the road…
  • Some cannot take their eyes off of him and are in awe…
  • Some want to have their picture taken with him…
  • Some belt out an operatic chorus from the play (no really, some did!)…
  • And then – there are one or two who come close to peer under the mask and are literally drawn to him and do not want to leave his side….

There is a risk to look beyond the mask, to see the person rather than the persona that a mask creates.

What does it take to really see another?

And IF we dare, what would we notice?

I admit, I kind of liked seeing him in all of his regalia, but what I love most is that the mask does not define or cover up who he really is. Nope, not at all! Instead it takes the brave, and the very courageous to venture close enough to see him as he truly is.

Here’s to celebrating the life of another by getting close enough no matter what kind of mask they might be wearing…

~ becky

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