Filled with Loving Kindness: Friends with strangers

We have recently celebrated another Halloween night.  I found myself sitting in the living room while most of the trick-or-treaters came to our door, answering it myself occassionally.  I was recovering from the flu, and mostly I was just sitting and taking things in.  Lydia and I talked about the visitors this year the next day.  Most of them were the children of neighbors and children of friends who came to our neighborhood.

And some were strangers. Traditionally, the masks and costumes of Halloween make all trick-or-treaters anonymous and virtual strangers, but in our day, we recognize our neighbor children and their parents who accompany them.  And there were strangers.  There were children and teens and parents whom we did not recognize.  I am sure that this was common experience across the land on Halloween night.  And we all likely responded to these strangers the same way:  we welcomed them at our door, we offered them candy, and wished them a Happy Halloween.

It was but a momentary experience at the door–and a powerful example of how to be in the world.  Welcome the stranger.  Offer loving kindness.  Extend a blessing.

The wisdom is ancient:

You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.   Deuteronomy 10: 19

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13: 1

So much to learn yet, and right at our doorsteps.

Bob Patrick


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