Monday, February 23, 2009

ashes to ashes

way back last year, i ran into my friend emily(moonsoul) after not having seen her for what was decidedly too long a time. and so it was, as we were reviewing the recent comings and goings of our lives, that emily(moonsoul) told me about what she described as her "phoenix experience."

it was, she said, as if she was engulfed in the flames of hard experiences and hard choices, of difficult change, of leaving behind the old and moving forward. and it was painful and sometimes she couldn't eat and sometimes she couldn't sleep and sometimes it seemed as if it would never end. but she believed that she would be reborn, triumphant and new, from the ashes.

i couldn't stop thinking about our conversation for weeks.

the principle of change, and more to the point, a belief that we can change, a belief in the real power of the phoenix experience, has always been one of my favorite parts of the gospel. this is not to say that change is not scary and hard, because sometimes (oftentimes) it is. and there is always the fear, in the back of my mind, at least, that i will emerge from the fire, not triumphant and new at all, but discouraged and broken and charred. and i would be flat-out lying if i said there wasn't change i have avoided in the face of that very fear.

and yet.

there is something eternally encouraging about the idea that, however miserable the process may be, we are not doomed forever to the things that trip us up right now. sometimes the fire comes in a burst, all at once, and sometimes it is a slower, more steady refinement, but either way we get to burn off the insecurities, doubts and shortcomings that hold us back. i can trade in my weaknesses for strengths. i do not have to fly forever with my old, imperfect wings. 

if that is not a cause for optimism, i don't know what is. 

and, even better, i am learning these days that change doesn't necessarily have to be miserable at all. while it is never easy to give up people or places or habits, whether they are good for us or not and it is never easy to leave something safe and familiar, no matter how trivial, for something unknown, no matter how small, i am learning that if i can put myself in a place where my heart and mind are open to change, any change, i am much, much happier than when i am trying to outrun the flames.

bottom line: change looks and feels pretty good to me these days. i am on board with change. though maybe not as much as some people.


lacy said...

Woah. That tat is insane. You should get one, it would look good with your hair.

Sarita said...

Thanks for that.