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Pass me not

by Christa von Zychlin

In hindsight, I’m sure it was an awful princess mask—but on that Halloween night, in the full confidence of a 5-year-old, I knew it made me look stunning. Shiny hair, high cheekbones, and at last, I was the proud possessor of a small perky nose. A plastic crown for my head and pink nylon gown (worn over a sturdy warm jacket) and the lovely new me was complete.

“Oh, what a pretty princess,” neighbors cooed when I arrived at their doors. I felt confident, tall and elegant.

 Until old Mrs. B. peered at me with cloudy eyes and asked, “Who are you supposed to be?”

“I’m a princess,” I declared.

Ignoring my words, but responding to the familiarity of my voice, Mrs. B. exclaimed, “Oh, little Christa from down the street. Happy Halloween.” I was indignant until she dropped not one but two popcorn balls in my bag. Mrs. B. knew me, and she knew her homemade popcorn balls were my favorite.

This leads me to a philosophical question: Is it better to be beautiful -- or to be known? And can we ever truly be both?

The Rev. Christa von Zychlin lives in Hong Kong, China, where she teaches adults and children through ELCA Global Mission and the ELCHK (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong). Read more about Christa’s adventures in Hong Kong at www.marathonangel. blogspot.com.

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