Last night was Halloween and a myriad of critters showed up at my front door. Superheros, kitties, grim reapers, witches, princesses, and even a couple of teens in jeans. (I guess they were in disguise as teens?) It is always fun to see what children choose. For one day a year, they get to be anything they want! One child said, “I’m not sure who I am, but I think I’ve got this hatchet and I’m getting candy.” Trick -or-Treat indeed!

Now, however, I am somewhere between Denver and New York City. If hurricane Sandy hadn’t hit, I would have been there yesterday. I am looking forward to 8 days in New York and Philadelphia,  which has turned into quite the adventure from what I had originally envisioned.

I had 4 performances scheduled. Sadly, I missed two of them by being unable to fly on Wednesday. And now, rumor has it, the others are a bit up in the air, too. Postponing my trip was one option, but I would have lost 1/2 of my flight because I was coming into NY and leaving from PA.

So, I made the best decision I could and here I am: heading to NY when transportation in the nation’s largest city is — questionable. And, I am lugging my guitar in it’s 20 pound case (I swear, it is) and my gear, clothing, laptop, books, and… well, you get the picture.

But: I’m fine. I am happy. I like an adventure. (Though I prefer it to be less encumbered.) I sat next to a lovely Peruvian woman leaving Seattle and she humored me by speaking Spanish. I had a good coffee before I left home. I only had to spend $5 for wireless on the plane. I mailed in my ballot and am praying we pass marriage equality in Washington State.

But mostly, it is a privilege to be with my East Coast friends in this poignant and painful time. Sure, some of them are mostly inconvenienced by the storm, but for many people I will pass on the street, who I will meet and hopefully sing for, it will be a vulnerable and tender time in their lives. It is in these times that I find God.

My friend who lives on Long Island still doesn’t have electricity. I don’t know if I can even get to his place on Sunday, as we had planned. But you know I will make every effort. Even if I don’t sing and convert 20 people to a spiritual journey of peace and justice. Even if all I do is listen.

Sometimes when I just show up and am available to be in solidarity with people, love shows up. And more frequently than I’d like to admit, what I think is my job morphs into something different. I don’t know that this is the case for this trip, but I have lived long enough to know that when I am get out of my own head and am present to others, I live more deeply into my own life – and occasionally find something really spectacular.

I don’t want to be so poor in my life as to only have money. I want my life to be rich in friendship and adventure, spirituality, music and love. That is the kind of life that makes me want to make a difference in the world. And that is how I live into my best self.

Someone once said, “God comes to us disguised as our life.” If this is true, God has worn some very surprising costumes over the years. And sometimes with the most unwelcomed realizations. But mostly, this is one of the most beautiful things about life.

So, I am coming to listen, to dig a little deeper, to allow myself to be moved by New York and her plight right now, to be with good people. And hopefully, I’ll get a little music in.

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5 Responses to Disguises

  1. Adrian Pratt says:

    Thanks for this little slice of positivity. We sure hope you can make it out of the city and over to Long Island on Sunday! As one of my local poets has writ, “Take a sad song, and make it better.” Whatever transpires, God bless….

  2. Deb Seymour says:

    Wow! Well written and very moving. Thanks, Shannon, for doing what you do and being who you are!

  3. Steven says:

    Ubi caritas et amor Deus ibi est

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