I was having lunch out the other day and, as I was leaving the restaurant, I saw some people I knew at a table. It included a little girl that’s in our upcoming community theatre production of Shrek. She said “hi” and her mom said that she’d see me tonight at rehearsal and I said “yeah, ya Little Freak.”
Okay, now hang on a minute. Not what you think. She’s the nicest, cutest little girl and, in the show, she plays one of the fairy tale characters that Lord Farquaad banishes from his kingdom of Duloc. To the diminutive Farquaad, all magical fairytale creatures are “freaks,” and our show has Big Freaks and Little Freaks.
So, technically, she’s a Little Freak. It’s a badge of honour, really.
Of course, I wondered if anyone heard me say that who didn’t know what I meant or how I knew her. Can’t imagine they thought I was being very nice. But I guess it depends on your perspective.
Those enjoying the traditions of Halloween will no doubt see a variety of heroes and freaks, superheroes and zombies, the more traditional ghosts and the more contemporary political and video figures. Some people will want to be their personal heroes and some will be anything but. That’s the tradition of Halloween: to be something other than who you are (preferably something scary…).
And the next day? Well, it’s All Saints Day in the church and, while many churches have many different views on sainthood, it’s traditionally the day we celebrate those historical figures who are everything we aspire to be, examples of love and leadership just like Jesus. All the good things we could be.
That’s great, it is. But between the All Hallows Eve of being something other than who we are and all the Saints of history we could be, lets remember who we are: the saints of today. All the good things we could be are already in each of us. We are differently abled, gifted with unique skills and talents and love. Finding that in ourselves and living it out - especially the love - is what makes saints. And saints can be found in the most unusual places. So can heroes.
In the play, Shrek’s asked who he’d rather be if he could be anyone but himself. He’s an ogre, after all, and who’d want to be that. So he sings a wonderful song about how “I guess I’d be a hero.” The irony is, of course, that he chooses the very thing he truly is, a hero. It’s not his appearance that matters, it’s his character and his heart and that’s what brings him true love in the end.
The “freaks” embrace their selves, too, and, flaws and all, learn to stand up for themselves. Being a saint isn’t about being something you’re not, either. It’s about being who you really are, and sharing that. Every year on All Saints, I hope we remember that.