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Candy Land

The Life Less Traveled

November 06, 2013
Every November I think about renting a portable storage unit for our leftover Halloween candy. My kids bring home sugar by the truckload. They're super-cute, so I suspect people give them more candy than other kids. Whatever the reason, they rake in more loot than a couple of card sharks after a weekend in Vegas. It's a load of fun Halloween night, but the stuff sits around forever.

We generally give our kids a 48-hour, post-Halloween sugar binge to make the biggest dent in the candy supply as possible.

By the 48-hour mark, though, they're swinging from the ceiling fans and shaving the cat, so we have to cut them off. From there on out, we pull in the reins and only let them have one piece of candy a day, which means we'll have candy coming out our ears for months.

That's where I come in. Like any loving father, I take one for the team. Well, more than one. Unfortunately, after my own 48-hour candy binge — OK maybe 72 — my wife cuts me off as well. The ceiling fan just won't support my weight like it used to.

At that point, we're stuck. We have a stockpile of perfectly good candy just sitting around taking up valuable real estate in our tiny house. By Thanksgiving, Christy is begging me to let her throw it away.

"You can't throw it away," I tell her. "Our kids worked hard for that candy. They love that candy. There are people starving around the world for goodness' sake. You can't go around throwing away perfectly good candy."

It's not that I'm actually going to send the candy to any third-world countries, but it's the principle of the matter. The candy doesn't even sound good anymore. I just hate to throw it away.

Thanks to me, we usually end up with a tub of candy that no one wants to eat stuffed in the back of our pantry until sometime around Easter. Then, it mysteriously vanishes one day while I'm at work. I suspect the Easter Bunny has something to do with it.

I suppose we all hang on to some things longer than we should. Some of us are candy hoarders. Others of us hoard our clothes, knick-knacks or random junk.

Still, there are others of us who are hoarders of the heart. We squirrel away all kinds of things in the deep places of our soul that no one sees.

Whether it's old wounds, old flames or old failures, it's just plain old. Our hearts don't have enough room to hold all of those grudges, regrets or might-have-beens. Like my leftover candy, there comes a time to just let it go.

Why? Because we're created by a God who's infinitely more concerned with our future than our past. He's a God who has bigger dreams for our lives than we could ever have on our own.

God promises that at the end of time He will make all things new, but that process has already begun. Sometimes the only thing that stands in the way of receiving the fresh life God wants to give us is us. Halloween candy may taste great in October, but by November and December, I'd rather go for pie. In the same way, we will never be able to enjoy the new life God has in store for us as long as we hold on to the past.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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