When you think of ASHES, do you think of sorrow, morning the loss of someone you’ve loved, loss of your house in a fire, loss of your freedom due to cancer/stroke/heart attack or some other crippling disease, loss of lives during tropical hurricane season, or the loss of landscapes after a volcano erupts?
We all have “ash moments” as I will call them. Times when our lives feel burnt and our hearts feel dead. Times when the cold chill is warmed by the campfire and the wood is transformed into ashes. Instead of looking at the ashes as an ending, view them as a new beginning of the beauty that comes alive after the fire.
Take the violent act of a volcano (mountain erupting) and lava pouring out to create destruction all along its path. The aftermath of burnt plush grass, trees, flowers, wildlife perhaps…makes one focus on the violent immediate result of the ash rather than what comes after… The ashes are high in nutrients to the soil. Volcanic ash contains minerals that are beneficial to plants, and generates more vibrant growth in the years that follow.
Take as another example, the strong winds during a hurricane with so much destruction and loss. Look to the palm tree for a way to survive your life storm when the wind is blowing so hard that you let it bend you completely over rather than breaking you in half. Look at your struggles as a new way to grow, a new way to lift yourself up and make your heart come alive again.
Finally, ideas are just ideas until you put blood, sweat, and tears into them to make them come alive from your inner self past ashes. When you take an idea, hold it in your hand to help it grow, you open up an opportunity to wrap the idea into something much more than just an idea. Reflection on the eve of Ash Wednesday…ask yourself why ashes, why on my forehead, and what do I want to do with my ashes before I return to dust?