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We are promised much good

Originally Appeared in : 9824-11/22/18
Whether you want to use Ecclesiastes 3, or The Byrds, there is a season for all things, and in the simplest of terms that means: We all “turn” into our parents. That thought passed through my mind as I walked up to every caretaker at our All Saints Trunk or Treat and said, “You know, when I was growing up we only got one piece of candy per house.”
 
My words were met with polite smiles and nods, as they leaned around me to dump handfuls of chocolate, suckers and sugary morsels into each of my children’s pumpkin buckets. Within five minutes, our kids had so much candy that Eli had resorted to toting a full size Baby Ruth in his free hand, and he wasn’t even halfway through the line of trunks. Multiply that by seven (yes, folks even gave 7-month-old Ruthie sweets), and you see how we ended up with six gallon bags of candy.
 
Truth be told, we weren’t even supposed to be at the Trunk or Treat. After years, and several doctor’s referrals, Simon finally had a surgery on the books for All Saints Day to remove a dermoid cyst from the bridge of his nose. The original plan was for all but Noah, Jesse, and Eli to head with Simon for his surgery Wednesday night, but a rescheduling pushed his cyst-ectomy (Magan will be so mad I didn’t use medical jargon) to Thursday afternoon, which meant Simon wouldn’t have to miss out on saint-or-treating after all.
 
What it did mean, though, was Magan had to rush to assemble costumes as well as worry that, thanks to Hurricane Michael, the engine in my car blowing up, and preparations for Simon’s surgery, she had never completed her original plans to assemble more saintly attire for the kids’ candy shuffle.
 
Jesse, originally slated to be St. Dominic Savio, was now Spiderman. AnnaMarie, once tapped to be Mary, Queen of Saints, was Tinkerbell. Eli, who was supposed to be one of St. Isaac Jogues’ converts, was a Stormtrooper. Simon had traded plans to be St. George (for which he had a killer helmet he couldn’t wear due to his impending surgery) for Gryffindor robes and spectacles. Isaac donned Woody the Cowboy wares, and Ruthie was just a cat.
 
In fact, Noah, still ready to transform the soul of Stormtroopers in the New World, was the only appropriately-attired child having crafted his own St. Isaac Jogues costume along with a shower-curtain teepee set up on the back of his pickup.
 
 When we arrived home, they continued the treating (as if we needed more candy), to a few of our friends down the street before paying forward some of the candy to a handful of trick-or-treaters.
 
It wasn’t until we started paring down the candy into manageable piles that Magan, on first swipe through the snack size bounty, unearthed a simple card.
 
“Oh wow, it’s St. Anthony,” she said. “That’s Simon’s patron saint. I’m going to go give that to him right now. That will be perfect for him to have for tomorrow.”
 
Simon’s surgery went perfectly, thanks in no small part to the hands of Dr. Yu, the Anointing of the Sick by Father Jacob, and the prayers of countless loved ones that included that St. Anthony card.
 
In all my worry about the kids having an insulin dump due to all of their Smarties, I had forgotten to recognize the spiritual beauty of the Trunk or Treat. The evening wasn’t about candy. It was about fellowship for our children among their extended Catholic family under the auspices of celebrating our common faith.
 
Drawing attention to saints like Isaac Jogues, Anthony or Dominc Savio, serve as a reminder that we are all “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
 
It also reminded me that God’s plans which, in this case, included Simon attending the Trunk or Treat prior to his surgery, are much greater than any I could forge on my own.
 
In everything there is a season...a time to attend a Trunk or Treat, a time to have a cyst removed, and even a time to carry a couple gallons of candy to the office.
 
Jason Halcombe has five sons and two daughters. He and his wife, Magan, are members of Immaculate Conception Church, Dublin.
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