BEAUTY FOR ASHES
I recently saw this photo and was awestruck by its beauty and complexity. My dear friend (and matron of honour) also hails from Iceland so I always do a double take when I see her homeland mentioned.
This image is breathtaking, memorizing, and ferocious. This aerial photograph’s colour composition is striking. The monochromatic midnight-blue hues in the sky, streams and rivers contrasted with the neon pinkish-orange outline of the lava is electric. The smoke cascading into a sort of mushroom cloud off in the distance delivers a dramatic crescendo.
This image also highlights a blessing in terms of harnessing energy as well as a devastating disaster-prone reality for Iceland, it’s inhabitants and much of Europe. Much of Iceland is uninhabitable due to these volcanoes. I’ve been to Reykjavik and as my Icelandic bestie says, “It looks like you are landing on the moon,” referring to it’s glacier-shaped landscape. Eruptions endanger lives, wildlife, and the economy. If it gets severe enough, the ash in the air can ground all European flights as it did in 2010.
This picture paints a metaphor for me. Sometimes when facing a difficult season, I fail to see the beauty- all I see are the ashes. As I look back on hard times in my life, I cannot deny its existence. The “beauty” can look like all sorts of things. Maybe it looks like relying on God like you never have before. Perhaps your family and friends are rallying around you more now than ever. Maybe you find that your heart is full of gratitude as you are more in tune with life's blessings and not taking them for granted.
I’ve created a new challenge for myself. Looking forward, I want to recognize the beauty in every season. I want to see the mountain top beauty from the valley. This is made possible when you have a realization that God is near and will see you through no matter what the circumstance or outcome.
"To all who mourn in Israel,[c]
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair."
Beauty for ashes. Joy for mourning. Praise for despair.
What a sweet exchange.