Too Many Pumpkins
One of my favorite books to read to my children when they were growing up was a book called Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White and Megan Lloyd. I’m not sure it was among my boys’ favorite books, though. They’d sometimes moan when I’d pull it out to read to them at bedtime. I considered that it was a fair tradeoff that they should tolerate it, however, after my multiple patient readings of their favorites about how helicopters work or about all the varieties of dump trucks and fire engines, and about frogs, snakes, and ticks.
The main character in Too Many Pumpkins is an older woman named Rebecca Estelle who lives alone with her cat, and who hates pumpkins. She hates pumpkins because at some point in her childhood when her family was poor, they subsisted for a time on not much more than pumpkins. She’d had all the pumpkin she cared to have, for the rest of her life. Pumpkins just reminded her of an unhappy, fearful time in her life that she’d prefer to forget.
So, Rebecca Estelle ignores pumpkins. Even when a stray pumpkin falls off a truck into her front yard, she manages to cover it up and forget about it. Maybe you can see where this story is going. The seeds from that broken pumpkin take root in the soil in Rebecca Estelle’s front yard, and before she knows it, she’s got the beginnings of a pumpkin patch on her front lawn. She rips up the vines and thinks she’s finished with these things that she hates so much, but the sturdy vines just grow back; and despite her best efforts to ignore them, by autumn, her yard is filled with vines and pumpkins.
Rebecca Estelle sits down on a big pumpkin and starts to remember how too many pumpkins fed her family when she was a child. So, she goes to work in her kitchen to produce all kinds of pumpkin treats, and then carves some Jack-o-Lanterns and lights them, to draw attention to what she has to share. Her neighbors start to come – they’re curious at first, because they know that Rebecca Estelle hates pumpkins! But before long, her kitchen is filled with children and their grown-ups, enjoying apple cider and pumpkin treats, and leaving with treats, seeds, and a Jack-o-Lantern of their own.
A thing that Rebecca Estelle hated, has become a blessing to her. It has drawn her neighbors together, and it has filled her home. This thing that Rebecca Estelle hated became a blessing to her because she stopped ignoring it and considered how her own experience might be made into a blessing for others. As the story closes, Rebecca Estelle is tucking the last of her pumpkin seeds away for her garden in the Spring.
I love this book and read it to my children, because it teaches an important principle about life. I’m not suggesting that every unpleasant experience you or I have needs to be embraced and treated as a blessing. But many of them do. God often works through experiences in our lives that we recall as unpleasant, to redeem those memories and to turn them into something good. What “seeds” is God allowing to grow in your life right now, that you’re trying to ignore? Maybe it’s time to tend to what God is planting.
With prayers for your journey,