The Fire

by Rhonda, August 14, 2022

I watch as a familiar truck pulls onto our property. The back end of the shiny F-150 is full of dead tree limbs.  It is our neighbor, and this is the third truckload I've seen her unload this morning.  We have an area of our property that we use to burn fallen trees - either knocked down by storms, or simply trees that have died as a normal course of their existence.  My Dad obtained a burn permit a while back, after he paid a hefty fee to unload tree limbs at the county landfill.

"That's outrageous.  A burn permit costs a fraction of the cost to haul all of this to the dump."

I also think Dad just likes burning things, but he would probably contradict me on that one.  He likes saving money even more than burning things, and with this solution he gets to do both.  As he oversees the property, he's always on top of cleaning up fallen limbs, so it made sense to me.  I nodded in agreement.  He paid for his burn permit the same day and has not made a trip to the dump since.    

Seeing his ingenuity, our neighbor approached us a few months ago.  They've been trying to clean up their acreage, but they don't have a good place to burn all of the fallen, dead tree limbs.  They asked if they could utilize our burn area.

"Of course," we responded.

Then, we didn't hear anything for a few months.

Until today, when she showed up with truckload after truckload of tree limbs. As I watch her unload the ugly, mangled mess from my back porch, I thought to myself this stuff must have been piling up for months, if not years.  

Indeed, it has.  The dead tree limbs have piled up on their property, and they've begun to drown out the new life trying to grow underneath.  Bugs and other varmints are making their home in the pile. They're killing their yard, not to mention, they're an eyesore.  It must feel good to be finally getting rid of all of the debris and emptying their land.

She finishes unloading the third truckload and lights the fire.  She's got a hot few hours of managing the fire, but after that, she doesn't have to deal with this anymore. 

I wave to her, and I go inside. I have an empty house this morning, and I enjoy the time alone with my thoughts.  My heart has been extra heavy this week about my divorce.  There's nothing that's triggered it, but that's how grief works.  It comes and goes, hits in waves, and sometimes you're just sad.  

The Bible talks about mourning our losses, and divorce is certainly a loss.  But, I wonder if we truly give ourselves permission to grieve and mourn in today's fast-paced culture.  Its okay to mourn something we've lost.  It's okay to take the time to allow those emotions to bubble to the surface.  Its a normal part of processing grief.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

We live in a fallen, broken world, and we have fallen ourselves.  Even when the mistakes are on our shoulders, even when the sin is entirely our fault, God will still comfort us in our mourning.  There's no stipulations on His promises.  

Grief and mourning are needed and expected by God.  God created us with a range of emotions, and those feelings are a double-edged sword that sometimes hurt us. Our only recourse is to bring our pain to Jesus.  He's the only one who can heal it.  The suffering of the world is great.  But, God loves us and He will comfort us in our grief.  

Isaiah 49:15-16 Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.  Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

Sadness as a result of divorce is going to happen.  Processing it is therapeutic.  As God's children children, we are promised comfort and it is not conditional upon what caused our losses.  Of course we will mourn our marriage.  Of course we will mourn mistakes made, by both parties.  Our hearts would be stone if we didn't.  But we can remember God's promises.  He promises someday He will replace our grief with joy.

John 16:22  So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

God will see us through this.  He will protect us, and we can rest in Him.  When we mourn in the arms of our Father, instead of stuffing our feelings, we will process the deepest of hurts.  We will become more empathetic to others, a trait necessary for solid relationships.  So, instead of letting old, dead debris pile up, we are free to mourn.  Free to mourn over the things we've caused and free to mourn over the things we haven't.  We can throw ourselves into the arms of Jesus and have a good cry.

Perhaps that's what I needed today.  Some time to grieve, some time to mourn.  I needed to share pain with God that seems to have been triggered for no apparent reason, and not feel shame for it.

My neighbor's husband pulls up in his truck, and pulls some lawn chairs out of the back.  He retrieves two cold drinks from the cab, while his wife sets up the lawn chairs in the shade.  They sit together in the heat, watching the fire consume the dead debris, talking together.  He has some health issues, but he still wants to keep his wife company while she manages the fire.

I have an image while looking at the two of them in their lawn chairs.  I imagine that's me and Jesus, watching some of my hurt and anger burn.  It makes me smile.  He never leaves me or forsakes me.  Never.  But I have to make the decision to light the fire.

My Dad and my daughter return home, and the timing is good.  God seems to have reserved some time for just the two of us, but now that's coming to an end. I've finished my cry in the arms of my Savior and I'm ready to move forward.  I am excited to see both of them now that I've processed a few things. 

They are in a great mood, laughing as they walk through the door.  Dad exits through the back door as soon as he sees the neighbors burning on the property.  Its his opportunity to chat with people, one of his favorite past-times, and he is off to say hello.  

My daughter asks if I'd like to go to Dairy Queen, because she's craving ice cream.

"You don't have to ask me twice," I answer.

We head out the door with car keys in hand, our minds on a DQ Blizzard.  But, despite the day moving on,  I won't forget how Jesus comforted me today in my grief.  He allowed me to burn some debris of my own, and I felt the relief from it.  I'm sure it won't be the last time.  Debris tends to pile up over time, but each time it seems to pile up more slowly.

We pull out of the driveway and wave at my father, chatting with the neighbors.  The fire roars behind them, and the three of them wave back.  I smile at my daughter, and we talk about her morning at work.  

Out of the ashes, hope arises.

SHARE 0 comments

Add your comment