Looking Beyond the Ashes

Looking beyond the ashes these last days of Lent seems appropriate as a way to begin the journey into Good Friday and the cross. My late husband’s library was substantial. Actually, it was massive. Thousands of both his books and mine were destroyed when our home burned. Our church put together a “book shower” to gift us with replacements of some of our lost treasures. Often the gift givers wrote personal messages about why they chose a particular book. Each book and each message brought a reminder to us that in the midst of all the loss, we were loved.  

A few weeks ago, I was reminded of something I wanted from one of our replaced books by Father Thomas Keating. As I opened the book, a folded note card with “Jolene” on the outside dropped out. This time it was not a message from the giver of the book, but a note in my late husband’s handwriting. It said,

“If God can take a grain of sand
and time,
with thousands of gallons
of waterweight,
and make a pearl,
imagine what She
can bring forth from us,
whenever we’re deep, down
and under.”
Honestly, I don’t know if the quote comes directly from my husband or another source, but I do know that the message is real.Lent invites us to receive the gift of living in the ashes or being shaped by the sculpturing of gallons of water often enough and long enough to realize that a beautiful new self will surface. It reminds us that pain, loss, healing, and love are all intertwined as gifts to be received even though it hurts.  Shalom,
Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
Executive Director/President 
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