I stoop to pick up what looks like the remains of pumpkin lantern. A triangular eye? It's happy mush from oldest son's twenty-fifth birthday celebration.
My three married children with my two daughter-in-laws and brand new son-in-law sat in a circle on the driveway with youngest daughter, niece, nephew, life-long friends and pumpkins and orange carving tools and piles of whatever the slimy strings of pumpkin innards are called. The chiminea burned orange flames that danced as if to the music of laughter and the hum of conversation and so did this mamma's heart.
I'm at patio this morning. Remembering because I'm holding a now rotting chunk of squash in my palm. I shake my head at myself and smile and wonder if whoever thought to make squash lanterns felt as I felt that evening last week, 'cause I felt like I had a candle burning inside the likes of mushy me and it's light just flickered in my eyes and danced right out of my smile to the rhythm of joy on the driveway.
Oats, pecans, honey, sesame seeds, raisins, and pumpkin seeds. I toasted them in a tossed together hodge-podge on a cookie sheet, and my kitchen smiled all warm and sweet and healthy because that's what pumpkin seed granola is and what it does. Place a tangle of pumpkin innards in the colander, wash the seeds free, and there's something about washing that is freeing; something about saving the seeds for granola that is redemptive.
Well. Fall, spring, and summer are damp on patio this morning. Three seasons at the same time and I think, So this is what it looks like to redeem time.
It seems to be a fall thought for me. Maybe it's because winter's coming and I want to make the most of the days before the hard ice-storms.
I look up the exact words given about redeeming time, and find them in Ephesians 5, "So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."
I munch my granola on damp patio stone, barefoot; and my heart is barefoot, too.
"Lord?" Leaves cling damp and thin to patio stone. "I want to be like that. Damp from the wash that bares my heart; thinned by the Word that reveals my true colors."
Fall leaves stick damp. They are bare of chlorophyll clothing all green. Damp leaves, washed by fall itself, bare true red, yellow, brown, and nearly white. It sounds like children's hymn to me; "Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."
I'm nearly white. I look at naked leaf skin all bare on patio and, "Ah, Lord" I exhale breath into the light fog, "I can see the colors of the patio stones and the bumpy pattern too, through the skins of these leaves."
He's silent somewhere beside me in the fog. His silence is naked and bares me.
"I want to stick as leaf sticks to patio stone. Ah," I inhale light fog, "I'm white-skinned, browned by summer sun; and may I be soaked by fall rain, washed bare till I'm clothed by a little color of me and a lot of the color of You; a little of the pattern of me and a lot of the pattern of You as I stick to You, my foundation Rock."
I guess it's an odd way 'round to prayer, but there it is. I want to be pressed as damp leaf to the Rock.
I take a picture. Maybe I'll paint it all water and color damp on canvas. It's a picture of what I long to be; spring, summer, and fall at the same time. Living in and out of season, at the same time. Redeeming time like this because winter is coming.
The bell pepper plants are oblivious to fall. They are summer deepest green, and maternal spring blossom. The tomatoes get it, though. They filled the colander last week and the are done. They are preparing for winter and I can almost hear them call from their beds to the bell peppers across the way, "Heads up! It's fall!"
So it is.
"Make the most of every opportunity," the Lord speaks as the fog lifts.
I set my empty bowl of pumpkin seed granola down.
"Be careful how you live," He continues. "Winter's coming."
I don't want to act thoughtlessly, but full of His thoughts. My thoughts are like tangled pumpkin innards with really good seeds enmeshed all through because the Word of God has planted them there.
"Wash my thoughts, Lord." I'm certain He's holding a colander.
"Separate my thoughts from Your seeds," I picture His hands instead of mine at my kitchen sink just preparing me as a pleasing aroma that will warm His senses like the fragrance of sweet granola.
"I want to understand what You want me to do," I request His command.
"Look at the picture you took." He nods toward my iPhone. "That's what I want you to do."
I get it.
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig