On Monsters and Saints

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On Monsters and Saints

Halloween is fast approaching, with All Saints’ Day quick on its heels! Soon the streets will be filled with ghouls and goblins, monsters and witches…and probably quite a few Elsas and Annas. (Could they please let it go, already?) As the festivities gear up, along with the squabbles about whether it is kosher to celebrate Halloween as Christians, I had an encounter that made me look at the whole affair through a different lens.

I was in line the other day at a coffee shop with my three-year-old for a coffee/juice date. As soon as we were next in line (a very long line) to pay, he announced he had to go to the bathroom. Our reality changes as parents. When a three-year-old does the dance, you sashay your way over to the bathroom no matter where you are in line. I am thankful to those who were praying for me that day. I have no idea who they were, but I’m pretty sure there were a few because normally “annoyed mom” would have reared her ugly, inconvenienced head. Instead, we took care of business and got back in line to have our morning coffee/juice date.

When we got back into line after the “intermission,” there was a woman with her small daughter in line behind us. My children are overly friendly, so this poor girl was accosted with a loud “HI! What’s your name?” She recoiled a bit, and it was clear she was a little timid. While I reminded my son to be a little less enthusiastic, her mom apologized for her shyness. She then admonished her for not being friendlier and called her a little monster. I was so taken aback I had no idea what to say. In the end, I smiled, reassured the young girl that we were not offended by her timidity and that it was okay to be shy and didn’t make her bad. The one thing I wish I would have had the courage to say in front of the mother was that this girl was not a monster.

I am a big believer that the words we speak onto our children hold great power. It broke my heart to see that word, “monster,” sink into the soul of this precious little girl. You could just see it in her eyes. Sadly, there are so many children (and adults for that matter) walking around with those same wounds. While they are not flesh-eating zombies, they believe that they are bad, worthless, monsters, unlovable, unredeemable and whatever other lies they have been told. This is not the voice of God.

While my children may at times act monstrous (much like their mama), they are saints in the making. They are holy, beloved, and each a gift. There are definitely days I fail to make that the central focus of my interactions with them, especially with a “threenager,” a five-year-old going on fifteen, and one on the way. I do hope, however, that my good days outnumber the bad ones, and that the voice they hear in their head is a voice reminding them they are loved, they are worthy, they are beautiful, and they are precious. They are.

Ashamed of my cowardice in calling forth this poor girl’s beauty in the face of her mother’s accusation, I wondered what I could do to help build up those I come across on a daily basis. How can I begin to be a voice that echoes the truth of God to each person in my life, as well as the stranger on the street? How can we collectively begin to help the world see people are not monsters, no matter how troubled they are?

Halloween brings us a night filled with costumes, children and adults alike. It is true, though, that many of us wear less obvious costumes on a daily basis. We should remember that our outer appearances don’t always reveal the truth about who we are on the inside. We are saints in the making in the kingdom of God, God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved (Colossians 3:12). Some of us have gone off the straight and narrow path as we battle our demons, but the truth remains the same. God has created us in His image, every single one of us, no matter how monstrous the outer appearance. It is up to us as the body of Christ to call one another to the light of sainthood that awaits us.

How do we call forth the beauty that God has planted in every soul, especially those who challenge us to see the good in them?

 

Copyright 2015 Rakhi McCormick
Photo copyright 2015 Rakhi McCormick. All rights reserved.

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About Author

Rakhi is a Catholic wife and mother who works outside the home part-time while trying to keep up with her husband, three young children, and a growing creative business. She is a convert from Hinduism and spent many years working in young adult and campus ministry. Rakhi’s blog and artwork can be found at The Pitter Patter Diaries, where her mission is to share the love of Christ with the world.

2 Comments

  1. Rakhi, I love so many things about this article! First- the urgency of the “I’ve gotta go” announcement. I bolted out of the pew with my 4 year old this weekend. Middle of the homily I popped up like a prairie dog!

    Seriously though, I struggle with my words with my toddler sons. I try my darndest to tell them they are good boys. Sweet & loving boys. But then the “labeling” is so easy to do when they act out. As they run circles around each other at bedtime and I’m telling them it’s time to lay down all that can come out is “You two are acting like maniacs!” It’s such a struggle.

    But yes- nurturing the potential saint is definitely my goal, too. And looking for the humanity and goodness inside of the person who acts or looks like a monster on the outside is something all of us need to do, especially in the Year of Mercy! Good timing!

  2. Hi Rahki. Thank you so much for your post. I completely identify with where you are in life with your children. I agree that we need to be more thoughtful with our language. It is something I use to harp on when doing parent re classes. The difference between “we have to go to church” and “we get to go to church” is monumental! Thank you for sharing these timely thoughts.

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