Friday, August 29, 2008

Beauty for Ashes

God gives beauty for ashes. I've wondered about this verse, this truth in the Bible hundreds of times. The process of exchange and exactly what it means... We had God ashes, the charred left over remains of whatever we were convinced we could fix that ultimately blew up in our faces. Think about ashes...the left overs of our grand plans; the bitter reminders of what we intended; the truth about our selfish, concentric desire to control everything in our tiny little lives. We stand before Him, countless times, for some of us infinite times, and like children handing over a broken treasure, we raise our hands to Him, passing the ashes.
In the exchange, we get back beauty. Most of the time it's hard to see immediately. It's almost always painful getting to that point where the ash has settled and the film has been wiped clean.
But that phrase took on a whole new meaning today. A woman, a very wonderful, dynamic woman left this world. As chance would have it, her last name is Ash. Diana Ash lost her battle with cancer today. I met her once and visited with her about an hour during an interview for the magazine I used to work for. It was an article about cancer survivors. We made it half way through and I was in awe of her strength, her positive outlook, her lack of fear before she revealed to me that she was, in fact, losing her battle. She is a young woman with a loving husband and two beautiful children. She is gone.
But Diana Ash, in that short time, changed me forever. If you need a metaphor, let me offer this: Our lives are a night sky and every person that touches us becomes a star. Some of them blend with the others, some of them stand out. Diana Ash is a comet, bright, fleeting and memorable and when she shot across my sky, everything else seemed to dim for a moment because of her vibrance. But she isn't the type of person who eclipses others. She is the type of person that brings out the light and makes them shine as well. Diana Ash taught me that fear is useless and a waste of time, that it's wiser to channel your energy into finding the life in your moments, not wishing for more moments in your life.
I thought about her often over the last year, especially recently, but I didn't call her. Something told me not ot push it, to just take the miracle for what it was. And today, the world offered up a different offering for the exchange. We offered the beauty, the beauty of Diana Ash and her giving and passionate spirit. We gave the beauty...we lost Diana Ash.

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