Beauty for Ashes

The age old saying goes “you only live once.” I saw a meme that said “wrong! We only die once. We live every day.” In my experience, both of these are incorrect. Thirteen years ago today, I died. For eight years after that, I existed. For four years after that, I resented. Today, I live.

I think something that is just as, if not more, dangerous as fear is comfort. Comfort is not always synonymous with goodness. Comfort is familiarity and what one is most familiar with is not always good. It is that dark, prickly comfort that kept me from living. Existing is no way to go through life.

Someone told me that God promises us ‘Beauty for Ashes.” The thing of it is that you need to give the ashes over to God first. Sounds easy. Give God the ugly thing that haunts you and He will give you something beautiful in return. Why was this so impossible to do for so long? Was I skeptical that God would make good on His promise? Perhaps. In life I had already been let down a lot. Was the agony of the ashes I held more comforting than God’s promise? I didn’t know. I. Didn’t. Know. That was it. I was so fearful of the unknown that I preferred to suffer. That, too, is no way to go through life.

I came to the conclusion one day that whatever it was that I didn’t know had a pretty good shot of being better than existing in resentment. I gave God these ashes. Forgiveness followed. That was when I began to live. Maybe for the first time.

This day always has a strange energy about it.  I don’t know if it is already there or if I manifest it into existence. Today’s weird energy was different than years past. It was the first year since It happened that I entered into the day with total forgiveness. Each time the memory inevitably crept in, I said to myself “it is done” and shifted my thoughts elsewhere. What a difference this made. It didn’t resurrect the Me that died 13 years ago. Dead is dead. It didn’t erase what occurred back then. What happened, happened. It stopped me from replaying in my mind one of the worst moments of my life. A memory that for some reason I clung to so hard. It gave me no solace. Far from it. It made me cold and empty. It validated my feelings of unworthiness that I attached to myself from the lies I was told to and about me from my earliest days. It was this hanging on to these dead things that turned me into a resentful zombie. Now, it is done.

I know that in the days that come there will be times when this version of me will die during the circumstances I must face. But I know that dying is essential to living. I’ll be afraid and perhaps even reluctant but I know that God will always receive my ashes and give me beauty.

Just as He did today.

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