The perfect gift of imperfection

My toes caught the vines, causing a slight trip. The next step landed my foot onto a rotten pumpkin, goo eased under my toes and over the top of my sandals. Shaking it off made no difference; like glue, it would stick to me for the remainder of the search. I scrutinized each pumpkin certain I would find perfect one, round faced and beautiful with no flaws. I moved from one to another with no luck. I would spy a beautifully round front, only to roll it over to find the birds had feasted on it or the back was flat, evidence it had laid gazing up at the sky during it’s growing season.

Defeated, I stopped. What am I doing looking for the perfect pumpkin? What is a perfect pumpkin anyway? So I stood still as if soaking in a sunset. Thousands of pumpkins sat quiet, waiting, waiting….It was as if I was there alone in the middle of that field. I heard nothing. In silence I spanned the crop waiting for the one pumpkin to call out to me. Back and forth and further away my eyes explored and then, I saw it, the one.

The pumpkin lived off in the distance. I walked with some effort over vines, wiggling my toes back from the fine prickles that lightly scratched as I maneuvered on my mission. I bent over to pick it up. It displayed a scar across it’s back, pock marks were spattered over it’s side and dirt was dug into the ridges on it’s backbone. It radiated a remarkable color of orange with a twinge of yellow vibrantly seeking its way out. This was it, my perfect match. In the patch of thousands of pumpkins, this is the one that spoke to me.

I lifted from the ground and dusted it off. Out of the stem, vines leaped giving it a sense of whimsy. I walked back slowly, proudly and gently laid it in the wheelbarrow where it became one of many, each different, each a perfect match for the one who chose it. An excellent pumpkin I thought. And after all, excellence doesn’t require perfection and perfect, well perfect is my pumpkin and it’s us, just as we are, flaws and all.

I couldn’t have had a better experience or embraced a more beautiful fall gift, a pumpkin, and a reminder of how perfect is this gift of imperfection.

No words

No words

It was early. The café had just opened. Even still, a line of weary morning coffee drinkers was growing. I sat at the table, readying myself for meeting. How are you? A new acquaintance asked. Fine, I’m good. I began to ramble about all the busyness in my life. I was after all surviving the loss of my child and it was nothing I wanted to bring up. My words flew, rapidly, and impatiently from my head. They grazed by my heart….nothing connected. She wants to know how I am doing, I thought. Nothing more. Slick and fast I spoke. Breathe, slow down. My heart sputtered. Breathe, one word at a time. No, she said, how ARE you? My shoulders dropped, emotion caged, wiggled itself out. After all, emotion had no place staying still; it is a part of me. My heart now connected, not with my head, but with her. Her hand on mine, her arms reached out. And there it was, the knowing hug. She knew. I breathed a sigh of relief, I thought, I don’t have to speak my story, she understands it. My breathing slowed, I don’t have to talk, just to be. Placed in my life that day, she reminded me I was not alone and all with one question and no words. There was no fixing. Just being. Love.

Tell him

I sat with a mom of a struggling son. Sighs of exhaustion and tears of grief crept in and out of the conversation. What is the plan? She asked. I love plans, goals, and achievement, but today that was not the answer. Words roamed my head, remaining silent…… the plan….. The plan is to be fascinated by his strengths, grateful for his tenacity, impressed by his resilience and wowed by his spirit and in awe of his story. The plan is to encourage his small steps while loving him large. Everyday, simply dwell on the great. Never ever lose sight.

The words of advice finally came out. “Be careful who you listen to. Don’t worry about what people think. There is no race to finish line. There is no perfect decision or perfect mom. There is no shame in making a mistake. There is time. And maybe try this…..listen to his pain spoken and unspoken in the quiet of the night when all is still and not stirred up.

And when he goes to bed, sit near him and whisper the words you long to say. Share words of love that can enter his restful soul while he isn’t struggling through the day. Tell him you are sorry he hurts. That he doesn’t have to fit in. Forgive those who hurt him. Forgive yourself. Tell him you love him and you will always do your best. Tell him of his gifts. Share your hopes. Encourage his dreams. Tell him you understand. Tell him anything you have on your heart. Tell him he is enough. Pray for him. Do this every night until you know all is well.”

I did this tonight in the quietness of my room, picturing him sleeping, while I spoke to the heavens. Good advice I thought. I wish I had heard it years ago. But today I realize this angel named Beau has taught me well.