Last Month, on the 20th, I found out that there was a such a thing as “why i write” day.
It would have been helpful to find that out before 10 p.m.
I wanted to sit down and write something about why I spend way too much time writing in my tiny little corner of the interwebs.
But, it was late and a Tuesday and nothing cohesive beyond thoughts of having ice cream on the couch were coming out.
Flash forward to last week, when we visited our local pumpkin patch.
We dressed the kids according to the schizophrenic Maryland weather we were experiencing that day, (last year it was boiling, this year it was actually cool outside) put them in the car and set out to spend way too much on pumpkins that literally nobody gives a thought to any other other time of the year except for October.
I lugged my camera around with me, trying to snap photos of my children having fun as fast as I could, thus annoying my husband who doesn’t want to pose for pictures next to scarecrows, gourds and hay bales.
It’s slowly becoming an annual tradition. This whole annoying my husband with my camera thing.
And each year I forget. Until I am literally up to my knees in pumpkin vines.
I forget WHY this time of year is so special to me.
I always think it has something to do with memories of growing up with Canada Geese flying overhead, crock pot meals and Thanksgivings at my grandma’s.
I always think it’s because the air turns cool in the morning and frost hangs off of the blades of grass in our yard.
I always think that it’s because of the way that the sunshine looks just the tiniest bit more golden in the afternoon than it normally does.
I always think because it’s the way a hot drink feels much more welcome in my hand than it did six weeks ago when it was 92 degrees outside. Or because of the way the leaves smell when they are turning colors and cascading to the ground to decompose.
My mind always subconsciously searches for why this time of year, during the slow march toward death and decay that so many things make before they slumber until spring, why this time of year makes me feel just a tiny bit more alive inside.
This week, I remembered again.
It was this time, almost 20 years ago (because I’m so old) that I was saved. That is, that I became a christian.
And it was because of a pumpkin. Except, not really?
I was one girl in a sea of youth group kids. Loud and active don’t even begin to describe our youth group activities. They are some of my favorite, most memorable times ever.
I was just a kid, long and lanky, and always feeling like I was this outsider. Sure, I had and still have friends, but no matter what, there was this nagging feeling that I didn’t just fit in. There was this feeling like there was supposed to be something more to life than what I could see every day.
One night, after praise and worship and games, our youth pastor sat all of us down. On the floor in front of him was a pumpkin.
He began to talk, and you’ll have to forgive me because, as my husband can attest to, my memory is literally awful, and tell us all a story. I can’t tell you exactly what he said, word for word.
But he sat there, in front of all of us.
And he cut the top off of the pumpkin. And he told a story about a God in heaven, who sees the patch. Because the patch is really His to begin with anyway. He sees all of the pumpkins.
All shapes and sizes.
Some pumpkins are very deformed. Some are just broken.
But really, the truth of it is that all of the pumpkins are broken, not just the ones whose brokenness you could see or touch. Every last one. They are all lost. They are all homeless. They are all dying.
But this God knows this.
Because he created the patch. He created it to be beautiful and multiply and grow strong. Only things didn’t go according to His plan. Only now things are different and the weeds come and they choke the pumpkin vines, or sometimes, the pumpkins don’t germinate at all or they shrivel right there on the vine.
Sometimes, they don’t even break the surface of the ground because the ground is hard; because it’s cursed.
But, like I said, this God knows this. The pumpkins don’t. They don’t know why. They can’t save themselves. They just are what they are.
So this God chooses a pumpkin. He tears it from its temporal vine. He carries it and brings it home.
Then He washes it. He knows every part of the pumpkin. Everything there is to know about it
And he carefully cuts off the top. Once He has removed the top,
…He reaches in and cleans out the seeds and the hanging mounds of pulp and flesh from its walls. Some pumpkins have lots, some not as much. But it doesn’t matter because they all are filled with it.
Once the pumpkin is clean, he begins a new work. He starts to carve a face, a new face, its first face, its truest face. The fact that it didn’t even know that it could have before now.
Each face is different and unique from the next and the one before.
And when He’s done…
He gives the pumpkin something. A light. His light. Now in us to shine.
And the pumpkin is like new. More importantly, it has a new purpose. One for all the world to see.
We are all pumpkins. In a patch. Homeless. Afflicted. Dying. Full of crummy, fleshly pulp. Nothing we can do will save ourselves. We are chosen, not because any part of us is good, except only because we are part of the patch that He made, an image He created.
He saves us. Not because we are good, but because He is good. And we are cleaned up. Cleaned out. Given new purpose. Until the end.
Until we pass away into oblivion. Only it’s not oblivion.
It’s the rest of forever.
This is #whyIwrite. Because He has traded my ashes for beauty. And maybe, just maybe, someone else needs to hear that, too.