Attending To Ashes
September, 2006

  “Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God.  
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains.  
The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil…
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full” (Joel 2:23-24, 26).  

  The days are noticeably shorter.  
The long, hot days of summer are behind us.  
The breezes are giving way
to the cooling atmosphere of autumn.  
The mornings have a chill in the air,
reminding us of the winter months ahead.  

Scenes of harvest cover the landscape.
Farmers are out in the fields bringing in their crops.  
In some countries we still find those
who are skilled in winnowing…
separating the wheat from the chaff.    

Fruit has fully ripened on the trees…
much of it picked and processed
in some sort of delicious enjoyment.  
The sun is retreating.  
We are slowing down from the active days of summer.  
We find ourselves in a suspended time.  
Weather patterns are mellow except for a hurricane or two.
Violent changes again touch our lives
as we move into the next transition.  
The journey of soul takes a downward turn.  

  The season of fall is one of descent.   
Everything is falling:
the temperature, less daylight,
in some places much more rain.  
And of course, leaves start their journey
through the many shades of color
which end in their tumbling downward.  
Moods change from fiery, hot rushes
to more melancholic, mysterious meanderings.  

  Whenever we have been gathered
by strong winds of fire and vision
we inevitably come to these moody places.  
Fires leave long trails of ashes in their wake.
So much has been burned.  

We have been living with great desire,
courage and some recklessness.  
Sometimes these strong emotions can lead to
power-driven personalities,
possessiveness, quarrels, ruthless competition, and even brutality.  

Fires disrupt our lives, make friction, and throw sparks.
Life is intensified!  Fire lights up those things that are hidden.  
This can be a crazy time!

We need some cooling in order to survive.
If the fires that ignite our passions
cannot burn in constructive expressions
that speak meaningfully to those around us,
then fires burn toward destruction.
Fires can burn out of control with frenzy having no containment,
or they burn inwardly and destroy our bodies if they are repressed.  

So, we need to be cooled.  
We need water.  
Tears begin to fall.  

We have left ashes behind that need our attention.  
We begin the journey of “ash work.”  
A time of grief and mourning awaits us.   

Our relationships experience the worst wounds and scars,
so much needs to be mended
and healed from the rush of passion.      

  “For I eat ashes as my food
and mingle my drink with tears
because of Your great displeasure,
for You have taken me up and thrown me aside.  
My days are like the evening shadow;
I wither away like grass” (Psalm 102:9-10).

  We begin our descent.  Journeying along with you…

                                     
Addendum
Soul Journey Through the Seasons
Catharsis: Bearing Our Losses--10/06