Knowing phoenixes

I’m not one for cliches. Metaphors, yes. Cliches, not so much. But there’s a cliche that floats around some female circles that I wish wasn’t a cliche…because I like the idea behind it. Beauty for ashes. 

I know some really amazing ladies, most older than me, but some younger. I admire their wisdom, discernment, patience, love, grace…the list goes on. But when I think about how they acquired those traits, I realize that they didn’t learn how to be amazing by sitting on the couch eating bon-bons. They didn’t develop inner strength by having an easy life. 

Unexpected loss of marital bliss. Never knowing marital bliss. Heart-wrenching loss of a child. Drawn-out loss of parent. Drawn-out family disputes. Unresolved disputes. Family secrets. Health secrets. Breast cancer. Any cancer. Body aches, heart aches, spirit aches. This is how they built their inner strength…carrying burdens upon burdens. 

So when I look at these women with admiration and want to ‘grow up’ to be like them, I have to accept what will make me strong like they are. If I want to be a crying shoulder to some young lady twenty years down the road, I must be ready to build my muscles by shouldering those burdens upon burdens. 

And suddenly, washing loads of laundry, making trips to the grocery store, packing lunches, reading one more bedtime story don’t seem like such trials to bear. 

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