In the Ashes–the first week of Lent

My husband and I were celebrating his Uncle’s 99th birthday when our daughter located us to tell us that our home was on fire. We rushed home. Channel 7 news was just leaving when we arrived. Our son had managed to survive an insistent reporter who finally gave way to his plea to leave him alone in the midst of the chaos and fear.

A delegation came from our church as well as friends in our community. There were many supportive faces, hugs, and empathetic tears.

However, in the midst of the support, the “vultures” came pushing at us seeking our commitment to their businesses to board up our home, provide clean-up, and to sign for re-building contracts. They remained for several hours stalking outside our home in the hope of getting our business. It was hard for us. It was their livelihood. They were not out of line. Our home needed to be boarded up.  We needed to hire cleaning crews and builders.

But I still wonder why anyone would think it was okay to ask people in the midst of the deepest despair to be logical and plan for a future? At that moment, all we could see was destruction. We needed to be left alone in our truth before we could come into the light of rebuilding. It was like we were screaming, “please let the flames be extinguished before we look at gathering wood for new construction.”

Lent gives us permission to be in the midst of the ashes and even the flames before we begin to rebuild.

We will rebuild! But we need to honor where we are before the construction can begin.

Our Creator gives us permission to be just where we are. Do we give ourselves permission to be where we are?


Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
Executive Director/President