Monday, September 19, 2016

a pumpkin tale

This is a story about a compost pile that sat in the edge of a townhome complex. Every summer, the pile grew higher with old plant matter, grass clippings, tree limbs, and finally in the fall, leaves and other detritus that people tossed there. Before the snow arrived, the maintenance crews from the complex would use a Bobcat to push the pile over a large hill where it was left to slumber during the heavy snows of winter.

One summer, I noticed what appeared to be a vine slowly taking root in and around the ever growing pile of leftovers. I was unsure of what kind of vine it was and assumed it must have been some type of weed that decided to take root there. This pile was within sight distance of my townhouse, but I just passed by it most days without a second thought.

Then came the day in late September when I noticed several orange balls among the vine. Assuming it was from the children who played in my neighborhood, I went to rescue what I thought were just lost playground toys. Instead, I found a sweet surprise: there, nestled in the vine, were several good sized pumpkins! It must have been leftovers from the previous autumn when people tossed the jack o'lanterns they had carved for Halloween. And no one else knew they were growing here! My luck. Now that pile of compost really had my attention! Despite the poor growing conditions, the lack of care and constant nurturing, those pumpkins flourished. Finally several weeks later I was able to bring home three pumpkins, each the size of a basketball and once more, the cycle of carving out scary jack o'lantern faces began, followed by the eventual tossing of the spent pumpkins back to the compost pile once more.

I tell you this story because it is a metaphor for the lives of many people. There are those who live in less than favorable conditions. Maybe it's an alcoholic mother, an absent father. Maybe it's growing up poor, or being bullied throughout school. Maybe it is anything that you can think of that brings discomfort. However, you can choose to bloom where you are planted! Yes! Despite adversity, you have the power within you to be the best "pumpkin" in your patch of life. You don't need permission from anyone. All you need is that resilience and mindset that despite this, you will thrive. I know of many people who have done so. Your life is YOUR responsibility. No one else can live it for you. I know there are times when all seems lost, I know this because I have lived this for the first 45 years of my life. But just like that vine, growing in less than favorable conditions, I have found that I can be the best pumpkin in the patch...and just as I found those pumpkins and brought them home, so someone special also found me and took me to his heart. He made me believe in myself when I was at my lowest point.

Look in the mirror. Tell yourself that you are strong, you are smart and you are IMPORTANT! Raise yourself up to be the best that you can be. Then there, but for the grace of God, (plus a few good friends and family...) goes you!

May God bring you an abundance of peace and joy today!