Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkin Carving...

Fall is in the air.  Halloween is just around the corner and orange and black is everywhere.  All the grandchildren are getting their costumes ready.  It’s incredible how Halloween has taken on a life of its own. Anticipation mounts for children as well as some adults.

                                       Elena in her self designed carrot costume!

                                                             Harris as Waldo
Halloweens with Brent, Brooke & Jared

I  loved pumpkin carving time with my kids.  There was something so gratifying about the sound of the knife splitting through the thick skin when you punctured the top of that large orange globe and popped off the top.  Looking inside there was so much goop to scoop out.  The mushiness, the stringiness, the seeds...the mess.  If I had been a Martha Stewartish mom I would have separated the seeds and roasted them for a nourishing snack for the kids.  I then would have taken all the innards and made pumpkin pies, breads and all things pumpkin.  Instead, I dumped the guts in a newspaper, rolled it up and threw it all away, washing my hands of the debris and focusing attention on the hollowed out pumpkin’s soon-to-be face. 

I'm a lot like that hollowed out pumpkin.  These past months have caused me to know how that pumpkin feels when the knife splits it's skin.  My thick skin suddenly lost it’s protective 
shell, once pierced and now my insides have become vulnerable to the elements.

I have moments when I feel like a giant scoop is reaching deep within me and pulling away everything inside me that is worthy, all that makes me feel, sense and care, and it’s all being dumped into a giant trash bin.  It’s a hollow, lonely feeling, it feels as if I have become an echo chamber and without my “stuffing” everything that comes into my mind, heart, and spirit just bounces within the walls of the hollowness that now claims me.  

Then there are moments when I feel like I’m a self-purging pumpkin.  These are the times when my tears are so close to the surface of my eyes, that without reason I feel as if all my emotions, my pumpkin innards are being propelled out of me, as though my thick pumpkin shell has been cracked wide open with a sledge hammer.  The tears, the sadness, the reality that Steve is no longer by my side is simply gut wrenching...and the sense of pumpkin purging is overwhelming.  So I fall apart at any given moment and there seems no stopping until the purging is complete.

Fortunately these are only moments.  They come in waves and then die off and life 
continues.  Laughter, hugs, looking into someone’s eyes, hearing a voice I love to hear...I suddenly become jack-o-lantern like.  My smile is back, my life, though different, continues to have meaning and while Steve is missing, his memory fills me and I’m good to go.

The very best moments, come as quiet gifts and these are my favorite times.  These are those moments when, as when you take the top off that pumpkin, I open my mind, my heart, my soul and allow God to light that small candle within me.  I allow myself to hear his gentle voice telling me, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you;  I will hold you by your right hand.  I will show you the path to the fullness of joy.  I will keep you in perfect peace, trust me.  I am close beside you guarding and guiding you all the way.” 

It is these moments that I live for, it is these moments when my pumpkin is a glow with the love of God and I know this is how I am meant to live my life, giving light to those within my reach.

I’m praying that my best moments will grow from moments into days...I’m trying, I’m praying and I know I’m not alone.

“ Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  Matthew 5:15