It started as a spark but before I knew it the flames were raging around me. Hungrily consuming everything in their wake. The breath sucked out of my lungs by the intense heat. And it stayed that way for far too long. I was certain I wouldn’t make it out alive.
But I did. And I sat in the ashes of my life as everything I had ever known continued to smolder around me.
I’d like to tell you that I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and began to walk. But that’s not how it happened. What happened is that I lay down in the ashes ripping my clothes and smearing soot on my face. I kicked and I screamed. I wailed and I cried and eventually I was quiet. And there in the quiet was the worst part.
You see the quiet darkness of my burned down life seemed too overwhelming. So I curled up and tried to sleep. I huddled shivering and alone. No one could get to me for the miles of smoldering ground. And I laid there for far too long.
And then he reached down and took my chin in his hands and turned my face toward the sky.
“It’s not over yet little one. There is still hope.”
And I began dragging myself through the decimated landscape. Following his footsteps. Believing he was leading me to safety. Broken limbs tore at my skin and still-bright embers burned my palms. But still I crawled. And crawled. And I crawled for far too long.
And just when I thought I couldn’t go any further he picked me up and carried me the last few steps. He set me down in a whirlwind of ash and soot. It swirled around me nearly choking me with debris. I closed my eyes, held my breath, and reached out my hand for his.
“Open your eyes little one.”
And I opened my eyes. And I saw the dark cloud that encircled me spin into the sky and fly away. A phoenix rising from the ashes. And I knew it was me.