It started with a simple question from my second grader.
Mommy, why do they call it Halloween?
I thought fast, like moms do when confronted with these kind of questions. I very quickly came up with a small amount of information that I thought would answer his question.
First, Halloween is a shortened version of a much older set of words. HALLOW and EVE. The original phrase was “All Hallow’s Eve.”
Eve is easy. We know about “eve” from Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It’s the evening before a holiday.
Hallow is a little harder. It’s an old fashioned word that kind of means “holy” or “sacred.” November 1st is known as All Saints Day. In older times, it was called All Hallow’s.
I skipped over a LOT. It was before my first cup of coffee and I really wasn’t prepared to explain much more.
So I breathed a sigh of relief when my son smiled and said
Oh. I get it.
But it was the next thing he said that totally blew me away.
Halloween is the day we hand out candy like we would normally hand out Grace.
And in my heart’s memory, I remembered him as a toddler joyfully handing out candy one Halloween. He was giving each child two giant fistfuls of candy from our bowl, giggling with glee. He made sure each and every child got at least one gummy snack because it was HIS favorite treat.
I choked an affirmative reply to my son and wandered off to find coffee.
Candy, like Grace.
Me? I’m a cheapskate at Halloween. I’m a candy miser. I tend to hand out pencils and erasers and whatever snacks the kids have rejected. Don’t knock it. Last year I was handing out snack sized bags of corn chips.
I tend to be tight fisted with the quality chocolate. I tend to pick my favorites out of the mix and set them to the side.
I am NOTHING like the joyful toddler throwing candy at the backs of retreating children, just in case they want more.
When I’m angry, I’ve handed out Grace like I hand out candy.
When I’m angry, I’ve been slow to forgive and quick to assume. I’ve been reluctant to cover the small infractions of another with lovingkindness.
When I’m angry, I tend to hand out the emotional equivalent of corn chips.
Grace, like Candy.
When I give Grace as freely as my son gave out candy, it is difficult to anger me.
When I am quick to forgive and slow to assume, then I am at peace. When I am eager to cover the small infractions of friends and family with the balm of lovingkindness there is no anger in my heart.
When I hand out the emotional equivalent of dark chocolate sea salt caramel supremes… life is good.
Let Halloween be the day you hand out Grace as freely as you hand out candy.
Give it freely, with double fists. Throw Grace at the retreating backs of those you love, just in case they need it. Chase them down and give them the good stuff – the very best you have.
And do it the day after. And the day after that.
(This post was originally part of a series: 31 days about anger.)