my TOMS are covered in ashes and reek like smoke, but I can’t bring myself to wash them, and probably won’t for quite some time. each time I wear them, each time I get close enough to smell them, I’ll be reminded of this week. we spent Monday afternoon helping one of the nicest families I’ve ever met clean up their house and yard from the fire they experienced on Sunday.
I spent the afternoon with Julia (one of our student leaders) and Luke (one of the sons from the family), cleaning up burnt boards, piles of ash, and the majority of Luke’s belongings from the space between their house and their neighbor’s. Luke’s positive attitude throughout the afternoon was so inspiring; he (and his whole family, really) reminded me that our possessions are of this world and so very temporary. at one point in the afternoon, Luke handed me the cross pictured above. the front side is a little grayed from the ashes, while the back is quite burnt.
this cross, this small piece of beauty, was found buried in a pile of ashes. it was found among boards, clothing, sports equipment, letters and pictures, things that were tossed into trash bags without a second thought.
it reminded me of life.
we can find beauty in the big parts of life, like a trip to the Grand Canyon with a beautiful group of friends, but we tend to find beauty more often in the little things. we find beauty in clouds in the sky on a hard workout day. we find beauty in encouraging conversations with people we admire. we find beauty in the carefree laughter and joy of young children.
we find beauty easily when life is going well, when things are working out for us, when we understand the plan for our lives. but what about when life is tough, when things aren’t working out, when we have no idea what lies ahead?
my challenge to you is this: when life gets messy, strive to find beauty in the ashes.