I have a writers’ conference coming up soon in Pennsylvania. I’ll be presenting a couple of workshops there during my six-day stay. The title of one of my workshops is called Rising Out of the Ashes.
When I was a young mother of a toddler, I lived in a tiny old trailer. On this particular day, I had a compelling urge to strip the beds, clear out the closets and wash everything in sight. So, I spent hours gathering clothes and linens together to take down the road to the Laundromat, even though I’d just washed many of those things the day before. But the urge was so strong, I followed it and made a second trip to the nearby Laundromat to wash the already clean clothes.
Thirty minutes or so after I’d arrived at the Laundromat, I heard a deafening explosion, and when I ran out to see what it was, I saw my trailer—what was left of it—in flames. It had exploded from a malfunction in the propane heating unit. I watched it burn, not knowing what else to do.
Later that evening, I walked among the ashes of what was my former life. But among those ashes, I found two items that were not burned. In fact, they weren’t even singed, no marks on them at all. One of them was my family Bible, a beloved heirloom from many generations before me. Another was my black and white speckled writing journal.
I have no explanation as to why these two objects remained untouched. But the fact that they did has remained with me as a sort of guide. Whatever happens to us, whatever troubles befall us, we have an unseen presence that helps us rise up out of the ashes. When I speak of this incident, I refer to it as a “God thing” because I believe that God saved me and my daughter from dying in that fire and that angels rescued my Bible and writing journal.
It could be merely a coincidence, but I prefer to think that there was a greater power at work with a divine purpose in mind. Achieving that purpose? Maybe it’s impossible, but maybe, just maybe, I can touch the hem of that garment.
When I share my motivation and experience, I want writers who are at the conference workshop to be able to use Ashes as a guide to the acknowledgment of their own experiences and leading. I intend for other writers to recognize in their own experiences those leading moments which motivate their one desire or drive to write.