Beauty for ashes

Published 4:47 am Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Maestro conducts the orchestra with skill and precision. He allows us to experience joy, pain, hurt, love, and even despair. He knows this is necessary for the music to be deep and rich.

As birth pangs of a mother crescendo a baby cries, and the symphony begins. With the music come events that thunder over the land with resounding force clearing everything in their path. The monumental force of love, or hurt, or fear takes our complete focus, engulfing us like a tidal wave and battering us with emotion. A child is born; a loved one dies; a son goes to war.

With each life experience Maestro urges the members of the orchestra to watch him closely and follow his lead. The Master speaks, “Yes, watch me. Give your heart to the music — Yes, yes … that’s it! Follow me.”

Thankfully, between the monumental milestones of life, Maestro gives us ordinary days. Ordinary-in order-the tide ebbs and flows softly, quietly, as lovers stroll hand in hand gazing heavenward as the sun heralds a new day.

Children learn and grow. A family is created heartbeat-by-heartbeat, moment-by-moment. Twined together by passing days, years, memories. Laughter knits them together. Joy and tears strengthen the bonds of family. A soft place to land after a trying day — a shoulder to lean on — a listening ear — people who have time for you when the rest are too busy. Home — family — ordinary life. This too makes the music rich and full and beautiful.

Change comes unbidden, causing us to stretch and grow. That wonderful safe place of comfort we held ever so tightly is torn from our arms as we try desperately to hold on. We cling to hope and fight valiantly. Just a little longer and our world will be right and safe and lovely again. Finally, realization eases into our consciousness. It slips in slowly, silently. The pain would have been too great if understanding had dawned too soon.

“No, it isn’t so! No!” we cry out. But despite all attempts to deny the truth, our life is forever changed. The warm, cozy spot where all the puzzle pieces fit is no more. Along with our loved ones life, our old life has also passed away. It is so final, so sad.

Maestro whispers to each hurting soul, “Don’t forget — no, don’t forget! The Music didn’t die. It is within you. Live, love, laugh again! The past is part of your symphony, and it is beautiful. The present is part of your symphony, and it is also beautiful. The Music is stirring; it longs to be played. I Am the Music, and I will never leave you.”

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at