Beautiful day. Sunny and warm, bordering on hot. Perfect for my walk around the neighborhood. Especially, after having sprained my ankle in a silly fall. A slight angle in flooring across a threshold was just enough to throw me off balance. My foot turned under me. Down I went. The episode unfolded in slow motion. I’-m f-a-l-l-i-n-g, echoed in my head. I felt less than athletic (my former life) and less than graceful (not my former life).
Poor me. I’m so hurt. I have to use crutches. No, a walker. Ouch! That was more humiliating than the fall. I was on the D.L. for about three weeks. I did a lot of feeling sorry for myself, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d be spending more time on the sidelines.
But three weeks later, here I was on this beautiful day, finally back into my routine. Not yet ready for the sometimes-jog to get my heart rate up but this was a good start. My attitude was on the upswing, too.
And then, up ahead, something caught my eye. It was on the edge of a neighbor’s lawn near the road. I squinted and tried to make it out. A pumpkin? Approaching, I could see I was right, but… What is that stuff all over it? Yuck! Bending down to look more closely, I noticed the bright orange pumpkin had equally bright green bumps all over it. Gross!
Moving around to examine the other side, I saw it was broken. Must be someone discarded this thing because of its ugliness. Oh well, enough with the pumpkin. I wanted to get on with my walk.
Prayer or contemplation are my forms of meditation when walking. This day the focus of my prayer was asking for and offering forgiveness. Too, I requested that I might recognize Truth. Lost in my thoughts, I almost walked by another pumpkin with similar characteristics to its brethren just a block away. It too, appeared to have been tossed along the side of the road, discarded and broken.
What the heck? I assumed, once again, that these pumpkins didn’t fit the bill. They weren’t good enough; were mere throwaways. Whomever took on this task must have felt that these gourds weren’t deemed worthy of being saved or displayed.
At that moment, the rejected pumpkins jarred my thinking. My mind flashed to a photo in a book I was reading. *Mark K. Shriver’s Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis, is an interesting account of our current pope. Among the many details of the pontiff’s life, the author focuses on Francis’ compassion, humility and openness. In the bottom picture on the first page of the photo section, Pope Francis is shown embracing a man who suffers from a non-infectious genetic disease that has left him covered in sores. The similarity between the bumps on this man’s face and those on the pumpkins was startling. To many, I’m guessing this fellow was seen as a throw-away. His disfigurement likely left him alone and broken; tossed to the side of the road.
It takes contemplation in order to put things into perspective. A mere sprained ankle. Give me a break! Let’s focus on the real challenges as we search for Truth. Yet, even when I first took in the picture, my ego jumped to the foreground, whispering Yuck and Gross. Then Spirit gently intervened as I asked to see things differently. “Look beyond the flesh. Don’t look with your eyes. Use Christ Vision to see with your heart.”
With that, I believe I was able to see and feel some of what Pope Francis likely experienced: The Truth of my brother’s soul; his pure, unadulterated, vibrant Light.
W-29 My sight goes forth to look upon Christ’s face.
1 I ask Your blessing on my sight today. It is the means which You have chosen to become the way to show me my mistakes, and look beyond them. It is given me to find a new perception through the Guide You gave to me, and through His lessons to surpass perception and return to truth. I ask for the illusion which transcends all those I made. Today I choose to see a world forgiven, in which everyone shows me the face of Christ, and teaches me that what I look upon belongs to me; that nothing is, except Your holy Son.
2 Today our sight is blessed indeed. We share one vision, as we look upon the face of Him Whose Self is ours. We are one because of Him Who is the Son of God; of Him Who is our own Identity.
Foundation for Inner Peace, A Course in Miracles, New York:Penguin Books, 1975.
*Shriver, Mark K. Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis, New York: Random House, 2016.