Thursday, November 01, 2007

Aha moments

Last night I was reminded of the first time my son went trick-or-treating on his own two feet.

He had just turned two, and we dressed him as a character from a family favorite, The Lion King. He did not understand why he had to wear this obnoxious furry costume with the bizarre lion-head hat. Arms crossed, he flatly refused to have whiskers and a nose drawn on his face. His sister, four years older and wiser, eagerly carved pumpkins and dressed up nice. My boy snarled his way out the door of our apartment in Los Angeles.

We piled in the car to go to a "real" neighborhood with houses and sidewalks. Once there, Big Sister marched up the nearest walkway and confidently rang the doorbell. Little Brother followed behind, looking skeptical. She held out her plastic pumpkin, shouted "Trick or treat!" and the nice lady handed M&Ms to both of them.

Treat in fist, my little boy whirled around with an expression of utter amazement on his face. He shouted, "Candy!" and peeled down the walkway with his sister to assault the next house. Aha! ROTFL* from Mom.

Aha moments, even spiritual ones, can be like that. Sometimes no matter how many times someone else explains something to you, you're not going to understand until you experience it. And then it's, "light dawns on Marblehead," as they say here in New England. Sometimes this new discovery or idea is so startling but clear that it has the effect of Explaining Everything and reorganizing your universe so thoroughly that you Finally Get It.

A little boy come to my door last night, just as confused as mine had been although a little more cooperative. He saw the other kids pick up the Twizzlers I offered. Then he grabbed one, turned around, and yelled, "Licorice!"

I hope he has a lifetime of aha moments, just like that one.

* rolling on the floor laughing.

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