Today, Grant, was supposed to turn 25. But instead, his ashes arrived today. I fall to my knees. I am undone. Breathe, Alisa, breathe. The body that grew inside me, the body I bore, fed, cared for, now ashes. Breathe. The body, the warmth, the olive skin, the brown eyes, thick brunette hair, the smile that could light up a room, all burned, nothing but ash. Oh, God help me to breathe. The flesh and bone that held his precious soul, ash, all ash. Finally released from weeks in a cold, dark morgue, but to this…left with a box of ashes. I clutch the box, gasp for air, and grasp for perfect recall. I want to burn the sight and feel of him into my memory. Every line of his face, his awkward hugs, his broad shoulders, the curve of his jawline.
He’s still so alive in my memory, but this box, mocking me, screaming reality…the body once loved, gone, nothing but ash. Think, Alisa, memorize. Recall every detail as you cling to this box of ashes. These memories have to last you a lifetime.
Look to God, Alisa. Breathe. Look to Christ, look to the cross, look to the Word…”beauty for ashes, beauty for ashes” I hear you, Lord. But what does that even mean?!
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them “beauty for ashes”, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Ashes, the emblem of death. Ashes, powder that remains after something has been destroyed by burning. And there’s definitely no more beauty in ashes! Ashes, the only thing left when one’s dreams go up in smoke! Ashes, useless, hopeless, gone, blown away by the wind! But God you have said, You will give ‘beauty for ashes’! How God? How are you going to exchange this box of ash for something beautiful, something joyful?! Your word says you are going to take this difficult, disgusting, depressing and horrible situation and give us beauty in its place. Oh, Jesus, pick me up out of the ashes and make something beautiful out of this, as only you can. Beauty for ashes…
Grant, standing before the throne, in his robe of righteousness, I see the beauty. Grant, in his perfect heavenly body, I can see it, the beauty. His days of pain and weeping are forever ended. The King of glory has wiped away any tears from his face. Every cause of grief has been removed. No more trials or pain. Such beauty. The giving of your own precious son to secure this for Grant, for me, and all who would believe…oh, the splendor. God of all comfort, bringing peace, even now, the majesty. Christ, sustaining my faith in my weakest moments, when I want to flee from God and never look back…but He holds me, never lets me go. What glorious beauty. And I believe too, there is beauty yet to be revealed, I am trusting there is beauty yet to behold, Lord, because you say there is! I am looking, Lord, gazing at you and crying out, as I hold this box of ash, that was once my precious son. Help me to see the beauty, Lord, in these ashes…
Grant, spending his 25th birthday with his Savior, in paradise; oh, the unimaginable beauty. Happy Birthday, Grant. I love you and miss you more than words are even able to express.