Updated: Oct 18, 2021
The pink blemish on the side of my face sizzled like eggs frying in bacon grease. The center of the blemish turned burnt brown and orange and was rimmed in a swollen auburn ring.
The blemish was a form of skin cancer being treated with cream instead of surgical removal. The removal process involved five days of treatments for six weeks. Halfway through the regimen, what was tolerable dry, bright pink skin had become a hideous fried scab the size of a large cigar burn. I was feeling self-conscious and changed my hairstyle to hide the burn and swollen face.
It wasn't just the hideous skin that had me down, but it was the icing on the cake of a challenging year. I questioned my path, purpose and faith. My son noticed and questioned why I was so sad. I assured him that it wasn't anything he did or said but it was the voice inside my head telling me that I wasn't good enough.
I inched through my days with self-pity and loathing. I viewed myself as damaged and intentionally avoided people when possible. On this particular fall day, I decided to take a hike on a nearby nature trail at lunch. I found a bench overlooking the city and sat with hot tears streaming down my face. Between my sadness sobs, I pleaded with the universe to give me a sign that life would get better soon.
I gathered my emotions and walked with my head down, crunching fall leaves beneath my feet. Along the path I noticed an oak leaf glimmering with the stunning colors of autumn -- burnt orange, auburn and brown.
It occurred to me that the colors in the leaf were similar to the patch on my face and I began to cry again.
Later that evening I received a call from a client who owned a 40 acre hobby farm north of town. He loved to garden and had planted strawberries, sweet corn, melons, cucumbers and pumpkins.
This client kept my son and I stocked with fresh fruits and more sweet corn than a family can eat in a year.
This call was to inform me he had a surprise and asked if he could drop it off.
When he showed up, he handed me a mammoth 50 lb. plus pumpkin with an oversized stem. I had never seen that variety of pumpkin but he informed me that these pumpkin seeds were genetically engineered to produce an extra large stem to hold the weight of the pumpkin. He thought this pumpkin would be good for my son.
Then he handed over me a 30 lb. pumpkin that had unusual markings in the skin that read “Samantha, Happy Halloween!”
When I asked how the pumpkin grew those words, he told me that he blessed the seeds before he planted them in the spring. In July when the pumpkins turned green, he took a sharp nail and carved the words into the maturing skin of the pumpkin. As the pumpkin continued to grow, it healed itself and scabbed over the scratches, leaving a reminder of the wound sustained earlier in the season. He went on to tell me that:
The scab is a sign of the pumpkin’s endurance and strength. He thought the scabbed pumpkin was remarkable for its so-called flaws.”
As he finished his story, I stood in silence for the timing of the pumpkin and the magnificence of this marvelous gift. The tears that came for the third time that day were now tears of gratitude.
My friend had scratched the skin of that pumpkin months ago to produce a magical gift for the Halloween season. He would have had no idea back in July that my skin would be wounded and scabbing in much the same way that day.
This gift was more than a remarkable pumpkin, it was the sign I needed to renew my trust and faith in the universe.
My sadness, ego and scars were no longer my focus. Instead, I was living in a state of gratitude for the magnificent sign found in a particular pumpkin and precious act of a friend.
That night I explained to my son that feeling flawed is a state of mind and that accepting imperfection is a powerful perspective that begins with the awareness line and moves upward toward love.
When we look for miracles, we find them and their power to heal and provide perspective. When we accept what is, we allow the power of the universe to work with mystery and magic.
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