Monday, October 10, 2011

From Ashes to Diamonds

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
The apple fell from the tree of life. The resultant tweets traveled the globe in mere seconds – thanks in no small part to the subject of the twittering. You had to be living in an bomb shelter not to have gotten the news by now. Steve Jobs, the king of Apple, is dead. You know me. I was thinking. Connecting dots so to speak as the media and internet exploded with the news.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
If he and Sir Richard Branson were not buddies, they were certainly contemporaries. Both were visionaries. Both wealthy beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. Both men spoke publicly of their private wrestling matches. Maybe those wrestling matches are the great equalizer, the great common denominator of life? No matter how great your wealth or how devastating your poverty, the same questions stalk each of us: Where is God, and who am I in him?

Word is that while Sir Richard casts about for an answer to the 'God' question, Mr. Jobs had found his answer in Buddhism. I can't be sure what went on between Mr. Jobs and his Maker once he knew he was facing eternity head on. I'll leave that to him and the one who made him and won't spend a lot of time sermonizing or hypothesizing about the end result. I hope they sorted it out in a way that even now has Mr. Jobs rejoicing at the creativity of the architect of the universe.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Can you imagine what it must be like to be an earthly creative genius who is ushered into the presence of the creator of the universe? What would he ask when meeting the one in whose image he was made? Talk about a cosmic big bang! Wouldn't I love to be a fly on the wall if Mr. Jobs and the Creator God are talking about the intricacies of the design of the universe. Almost makes my brain explode to think of it!

I listened to video clips of Mr. Job's Stanford University commencement address last week and was mesmerized each time. The part that finally sent me scrambling for a transcript follows:  
No one wants to die, even people who want to go to Heaven don't want to die to get there, and yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it's quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life....”

As I pondered the statements of the rich and powerful, I checked out a friend's blogpost of 9/30/2011( Her words mingled in my mind with those of Steve Jobs and Sir Richard. Marcia's hope in her creator is secure. Her book, When God Comes Near, details her journey of faith during her daughter's losing battle with Creutzfeldt-Jakob's Disease. Marcia's thoughts about the dark days of life when forward motion seems impossible include these:
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

There are some days for all of us that are spent simply dying. We lose direction. We lose hope. We move through the day, respond to phone calls, think about what we should or could be doing and before we know it, we have managed to never find the productivity we longed for...Anne Lamott says ...'Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.' "

I've spent a lot of time dying in the last 3 years. Dreams, hopes, plans, and relationships of my youth are gone. I have been left to wonder: who am I really? Will I be a phoenix rising from the ashes? Will my ashes become a thing of beauty? Have I found or am I finding clarity in my season of loss and recovery?

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I have spent most of my adult years trying not to live someone else's life. Looking back, I'm not sure I've even come close because so much of being a wife and mother entails the needs of others. It has taken me over 5 decades to face myself and admit that what I really, really want to be when I grow up is a writer. Last week, I told my therapist on call that the scariest words I ever uttered were those.

What if I try and fail? Wouldn't it just have been easier to go on ignoring that secret voice within me than to admit the truth to myself and risk failure? I upped the ante by putting the words in writing for all the world to read which makes the fear all the more urgently tyrannizing! What was this fraidy cat thinking?

I am a fraidy cat. I am writing my way back to God in hopes that he will find me. I kept on reaching for him, even in the darkest dark, because I believe he sees me when I cannot see him. And, every time I sit at this keyboard, write another page or 2, and hit the 'publish' button, I drive back the darkness a little more. In the end, I hope that ashes will sparkle like diamonds in the sun.

Isaiah 43:19 (Bible in Basic English)
See, I am doing a new thing; now it is starting; will you not take note of it? I will even make a way in the waste land, and rivers in the dry country.


  1. Wonderful, wonderful writing! I could only hope to be as talented a writer as you! I love the quote by Jobs you used in this post. I think of this quote by Steve when I read this post,

    "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."

    I believe you have found your calling in writing. You are sincerely great at it. And I'm not just whistlin' dixie!

    I find it somewhat difficult to balance my dreams of being a photographer and a mother. I figure serving my family should come first. But I certainly have those days when I just want to escape away, just me and my camera, away to some distant place filled with images of beauty and tranquility.

    And in the end, I believe being a mother and mentor to my girls is really one of the greatest works I could do. It's certainly challenging. If it weren't for my girls, I would never have discovered my love of Photography! Thus connecting the dots. :)

  2. You have certainly found your passion, and your photography shows it! Hoping my words are as effective as your photography!