Beauty from ashes

I often have this phantasy of burning all my notes to free myself from the urge to write.

Slowly, I approach the grey mound. A few ambers are still flying. Bending down I let my fingers run over the heap of ashes, still warm, still suggesting life. I pick up some, at the outer side of this large pile, where the grey had already turned cold. Eager, with both hands, I fill my palms with my ashen words, turn to the wind and let them fly. Free to sail away to the clouds.

Goodbye, words, we are free now. So free.

A relieved smile on my face.

I watch the breeze taking them up, carrying them far, and see them disappearing into nothingness. My eyes follow the grey ashes of every word I wrote, every letter I typed.

Bending down again, I stare at the remaining heap of words. The notebook covers are still visible. They burn slower, trying to hang on to the pages that held my life. And yet, they are only the covering. The covers that held my letters, my words, my phrases, my prayers, the account of the amazing, unfathomable, incredible stories of my existence. The stories of who we were, who we had become, who we longed to be. The stories of life, of death, of resurrection.

No one else will read them now. No one else will be tracing my life, my thoughts, my joys, my sorrows. No one else will know of that fateful day Marie’s life ended. No one else will read of the night my marriage fell apart. No one else will discover the scars left by a life lived to the full. The scars of my soul hidden. Visible only the scar on my arm where the knife stabbed my flesh. 

No one else will know how it came to be that God called me. Me, a small no one, a sinner from nowhere. No one else will know that I was part of his plan. That he put his words into my mouth, words he wanted to be spoken. Words that I learned to roll off my tongue although I didn’t know the ending of his phrases, nor their purpose. Trusting that after speaking or writing the very first phrase others would follow and it all would make sense. For me, for someone, for him. Ashes now, the written words turning into ashes. No one will know these words weren’t mine. Or how I learned to trust these words from the One who had all rights to say them. No one will know I was his scribe, his pencil, his laptop-writer. You see, today God writes on laptops too. Ashes now. No one will know the words I burnt, the ones that never saw day, never got printed, never changed someone else’s destiny. Like they changed mine.

The word was made flesh, and I rejected the word. I rejected the words that were to be written with golden ink. I let the ink well dry, and the words withered away like unwatered flowers. Where are the locutions now? Where are his words? No one will find them in these ashes. Because these words were his, destined to be spoken through me alone.

God’s pencil is no more. I tried walking on water and sank. I wrote on the wall of my life and it was whitewashed. No one will ever know. As if life didn’t happen. As if all was in vain. Even the war. Even the peace.

I stand up as the ashes get cold. Try to turn away from the sadness. My soul empty, so empty. All tasks undone. All tasks gone cold. No written word left to ignite the fire in the hearts of those who seek to know, to know the truth, to know what was, what will be. Their hearts are burning but they will not know why. But I, I do know. I lived it. And let the soul-fire die. This fire of burning words that were meant to give glory to God.

I fall onto my knees in front of this heap of ashes, these unwritten words, these thoughts unexpressed. What have I done? I burnt them, let them slide into nothingness, and cannot revive them anymore. Can’t I?

Oh, so empty. How empty my soul feels without words! What was meant to liberate, unloading the burden, letting go of the pressure to form words into a phrase, a paragraph, a page, has turned into an ashen grave. Weighs me down, leaves me more burdened than before. Dark, void of light.

Help me arise, arise from these ashes. Arise, and shine light on new words, which you will give me once more. Resurrection, oh God, is all I need. Command me to turn these ashen bones into words of flesh. Again. Let my pencil write anew, oh Lord. For your glory.

Beauty from ashes, as of old. As of the days when you called. When you made all things new.

Take with you words,
    and return to the Lord;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
    and take what is good.
    Let us offer the fruit of our lips.
Hosea 14:3

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