Take chances. Abandon all the rules. Ditch the recipe. Color outside the lines.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beauty for Ashes

I have always been intrigued by the image of the Phoenix.  This mythological creature that is born from its death moved something within me.  I find it relatable. 

Most times in my life before I have been able to progress something first must die within me.  On my journey to sobriety, my love for alcohol had to die.  Upon discovering grace, my desire for justice had to die.   In my pursuit of honesty, my fear had to die.  There has been much death in my life along my journey; followed each time by the birth of something greater and more beautiful than the deceased. 

We sing songs about beautiful things being made from dust and beautiful things rising from ashes but we are afraid to be dust.  From the very beginning of man God was in the business of taking something crushed, dirty, and unimportant and breathing life into it. 

In the story of the Phoenix, the sun looks down and sees a beautiful bird and calls it out to be his special bird.  The bird worships the sun and vows its undying loyalty to him.  Times goes on and the Phoenix becomes old and worn, tattered by time.  It cries out to the sun to make it new again but there is no answer.  So the Phoenix flies back to its homeland where it first met the sun and it makes a nest and rests.  Then it cries out again to the sun for renewal.  This time the sun hears it and begins to beat down on it with all the heat he can muster.  The other animals run and hide from the harsh rays of the sun.  Through the pain of the heat, the Phoenix stays until finally it burst into flames.  The fire subsides and all that can be seen is a pile of ash.  Slowly, the ashes begin to move and a new, even more beautiful, young Phoenix rises from them. 

Life brings fire, pain, heartache, and we fight being broken.  We fight being reduced to ash, being crushed to dust, not because we can stop it but because we are afraid to let everyone see us as imperfect.  We are even afraid to let God see us as imperfect.  Silly us. 

He looks down at our ashes and sees a brand new beautiful child rising from them.  Where we see dust he breathes life  and makes his chosen one.  We pretend that we are whole because we don’t see our brokenness as being enough for him.  We forget so easily that we were born from brokenness; brokenness that he came in and made perfect, enough for him. 

I embrace the fire more now, because I know it means something new will soon be born from it.  Don’t be afraid to let what is old and worn burn and let the Phoenix within you rise from the ashes. 

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