Beauty From Ashes

  Today I was startled by the smell of smoke as I walked through The Pass Mountain area of Shenandoah NP. Seeing the charred downed trees and singed underbrush I understood what had assaulted my nose. Fire had wreaked destruction on entire hillsides. I mourned the loss of life in this area of the park.

Then a bright yellow swallowtail flitted just over my head. I realized I was walking through black skeletons of a mountain laurel thicket. I smelled only the acrid residue rather than the sweet, spicy aroma I always enjoy when walking through their tangled jungle. Suddenly, I was startled by a perfect blossom of pink with two lovely green leaves standing alone on the charred earth. This lady’s slipper looked alien in this barren, burnt landscape. After I spent a while admiring and photographing this exquisite blossom, I stepped back and noticed 3 more lady’s slippers further back from the path!

Isn’t this what God does with our lives (and often our world)? When everything looks completely destroyed by an inferno, He reminds us He is still there like the butterfly flying over my head. And then, just when I least expect it, He brings the most beautiful life up through the ashes.

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