Trick-or-treating is a bust this year. Some towns have tried to salvage it with drive-through events that hopefully will pass into memory as one of many ridiculous efforts at normalcy that didn’t really cut it, but were better than being stuck at home or sitting in front of Zoom screens. It has been a year of no treats.

I had a teammate once who had a way of perfectly characterizing people, in trim one-liners. She wasn’t mean, she was accurate. Of one guy on the team, an attorney, she said, “He has no treats.”

No treats? I wondered and observed. He seemed fine. We were all the nice people of the world, a team doing good. We were volunteers! Just being there was giving a treat, wasn’t it?  But she was right. Thomas had no treats.

So, what is a treat? My friend had identified an inner lack, but what was missing? Generosity? Kindness? It’s harder to name something when it isn’t there than when it is. Oh, there goes a kid in a ghost costume. Oh, there goes a ghost! What was that? Was that a ghost? A lack of generosity is like a ghost. Absence of kindness can be almost invisible when a person is polite. That is, until someone abundantly kind and generous in spirit shows up, spilling it all over everybody. That’s a treat.

I’m guessing my friend had been around enough of those abundantly loving treat-spillers to recognize when treating was missing.

“Maybe the opposite of Giving is not Receiving; maybe the opposite of Giving is Withholding. It is more blessed to give than to withhold.”

Want to make the world better? Stop withholding.

Yup. That’s it. People who have stuff to give like to rejoice that they are not in need of receiving, and we are often reminded that it can be good to receive. Those who always have enough need to learn this. Giver and receiver are both blessed.

But a withholder is never blessed. Never.

It’s a tight, hard way to live. Give it up.

In year of no treats, and a Halloween with sorry substitutes for tricks and treats, let’s give out the treats we usually withhold. You know what they are.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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