Perhaps you’ve seen a fire grow old and gray, the ash becoming dust while the remnants of embers curl inward to find the warmth of the inner soul. Perhaps you’ve let the fire die out. Or perhaps you’ve blown whispers into its heart and seen it perk up with fleeting tenacity.
“It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of creation and it turns to radiance – for a moment or a year or the span of a life.”
– John Ames, speaking in reference to himself (Gilead, Marilyn Robinson)
Some of us burn hot and go out quick. Others simmer out slowly. Some only increase in heat with time while others of us burst in and out of flame, depending on the kindling around us. We do not know- nor can we control- when our own fire will be brightest but perhaps we can prepare ourselves.
Perhaps we can smolder the residual heat of this entropy we embody so that when the Lord breaths on us, we are ready to reignite and illuminate. We do not know for how long the breath will last: a moment, a year, a lifetime. Some people seem to glow their entire life through; they are often heroes and heroines, the saints and ones we look up to, setting our lives to follow. Others capture a stream of glowing moments- a conflagration- flowing through fire for a period of time. Still others have one moment to shine where their whole life is preparation for that one beautiful moment. When that moment comes, they must be ready or it passes them by.
We are all gray embers of creation and so we must all be ready to receive the breath of God. We must all be ready for that great emergence, the moment when when we are liberated from the clutches of gray death and arise into glowing flame. Amidst this rising from the ashes, we find ourselves creatures of beauty, born of the breath of God, illuminated by fire, resurrected out from the dusty ashes of death. In our radiant resurrection we must reveal the beauty of life and the beauty of the one who creates life.