Beauty for ashes
“To all who mourn in Israel God will give: Beauty for ashes; Joy instead of mourning; Praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.” -Isaiah 61:3
The world has always been a turbulent place. Considering its long history of violence, strife and indifference, it’s remarkable the planet has survived at all. But survive it has. Despite the ashes of self-destruction we seem to live in, beauty abounds, love abides and humans continue to open their hearts to others in need.
Beauty for ashes is a wonderfully sweet concept. Out of the remains of fire and destitution can rise hope and possibilities.
Many of us have coped with our own wallow in the ashes over the past two years as the housing market collapsed dragging along with it the stock market and the lives and jobs of many middle class families. Ashes are all around us in each foreclosure or for sale or for rent sign we see in our neighborhoods. Retirement accounts that once stood as sturdy structures are now pilfered and burned out shells, forcing many older americans to seek another job after a lifetime of work. A friend recently told me about his father, who at 65, is looking for full time work to supplement social security.
Where do ashes give way to beauty? Only in our perception. Only in the way we look at things can we begin to see the ravages of the economy, of war, of want and hunger in a new light. Maybe ashes are here to remind us to live life but step carefully. Ashes are remnants of a past human existence of excess and over indulgence. We are at the doorstep of a new way of life as frugality and mindful living combined with spiritual energy work to create a different landscape of survival and sustainability.
God promised Israel Beauty for Ashes, Joy instead of mourning and praise instead of heaviness, likening these attributes to strong and graceful oaks. Oaks bend and wave in the wind but their roots run deep.
Find your oaken roots today. Find beauty in the ashes.