There’s a bible verse that talks about beauty for ashes. Here is a very literal visual of what I think that means. The fires surrounding Northern Utah contributed to a stunning sunset on our drive this weekend. Beauty for ashes. This photo is a weak representation, but I wanted to remember it.

Seventeen years ago this fall I got married and five months later went through a divorce. I’m quite disconnected from that experience now - it feels like a very strange blip in my story, despite my heartache at the time. What I’m not disconnected from is the 15 years of being single that followed. That’s the surprising part of the story and the part that held more heartache than my divorce. It also held the most adventure and exquisite growth. That 15 years was my beauty AND ashes. Life is usually both, right? To see it end felt wonderful and painful - like saying good-bye to a mentor who brought my most valuable, challenging lessons. I didn’t expect the grief of that ending.

Then I sat next to my husband as we drove next to this sunset and the parallel felt so stark. Another beauty and ashes. The beauty of partnership and family amidst the ashes of the stories that I have to ‘burn down’ in order for this to flow. It’s slow work and it’s much harder than being single. But the beauty is stunning. It’s absolutely stunning.

Cycles are fascinating, aren’t they? The beginnings and endings and ebbs and flows and the highs and lows that remind you of how much growth there is always left to experience in life. I’m grateful for that tonight.