Do you miss trick-or-treating? I totally do.
Candy, costumes, and chilly fall air never failed to create the perfect setting for childhood adventures. I remember one year's quest for candy particularly vividly. It was the fall of sixth grade. I was dressed a chef and my best friend was going as an electrocuted lady. [You should have seen the way she teased her hair. It was pretty sweet.]
Since it was our last year trick-or-treating, we knew we had to strategize carefully in order to make the most of our final escapade. We shaped our route very cautiously so as to ensure it included families we knew and houses we heard gave out full sized candy bars.
After we had pranced around several neighborhoods, it was getting close to bedtime. We decided to end with one last spooky street that was home to an employee from our elementary school. Rumor had it she was distributing king sized Symphony bars. Talk about awesome! But even the sheer wonder of that vast quantity of chocolate is not the thing that sticks out in my memory the most.
Next to the generous candy donor's home was a continuous row of houses with their porch lights shining brightly. Figuring we had hit the junk food jackpot, my friend and I continued to frolic from door to door. After receiving several successful additions to our bag of sugary loot, we went up to one last house.
We rang the doorbell. And waited.
Then we waited some more.
Figuring this seemed like a logical explanation, we solicited the quiet house once again.
Using our obviously mature and tactful twelve year old logic, we concluded that the best thing to do in this situation was to try ringing the doorbell again. [What were we thinking? I think I might have eaten one too many Reese's Peanut Butter Cups earlier that evening...my brain apparently wasn't working properly.]
Finally, a tired, annoyed, and rightfully grumpy woman came to the door.
"What are you girls doing? Can't you see my porch light isn't on?" she growled.
As if on cue, my friend and I lifted our heads toward the black night sky and realized something-- it was a black night sky. The woman's light was not on. In our candy induced jubilee from house to house, we had failed to notice that this home had broken the chain of lit porch lights.
Awkwardly apologizing and then running as quickly as our preteen legs could carry us to the safety of our parent's car, we decided to call it a night and comfort our aching, wounded egos with chocolate. [Not a bad cure, I might add.]
As embarrassing as this experience was, I'm really thankful for the lesson it taught me.
I think that talking to people can be a little bit like trick-or-treating. Sometimes conversations can be really sincere and encouraging. However, other times I think people have their personal porch lights turned off. For example, have you ever talked to someone who doesn't really listen but instead gives you that glazed over look with an occasional nod or uh-huh? Ever tried to have a conversation with somebody who can't get off their phone? Or have you ever really needed to talk to someone only to find that everybody is too busy to "open their door" and listen to your concerns?
Even though some people leave their figurative porch lights turned off, Heavenly Father's is always on. As His children, we can pray to Him any time, in any place, about anything. He turns no one away. His door is open for all to come and partake of blessings that are infinitely better than candy. To each of us He offers His unconditional love, lasting peace, and true joy.
I love what it says in Matthew 7:7-8:
Heavenly Father is always there for us. His porch light is always on. We just need to come unto Him and "knock".
Let's wrap things up [candy wrapper pun not intended] with a quote from President Monson.
I know that the power of prayer is real. It has blessed me so much in my life. When I feel like no one cares or will listen, it is so comforting to know that He does care. He wants to listen. He hears and answer us. It's not always in the ways we want, but he always answers exactly how we need.
Don't be afraid to go up to His door and knock. He won't turn you away.