Beauty From Ashes

If there is anything that I have learned from working in the environmental field for all these years, it is that south Florida is unique. There are many habitats and animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The ecological significance of these areas is not difficult to justify, but because they are so rare, they must be “managed” so that they can be preserved.

Pine rockland habitats are maintained with fire (either wild or controlled) so that they are not overtaken by hardwood trees. However, immediately after a fire, there is very little left – all seems lost and everything looks completely desolate and destroyed. The landscape is no longer covered with green underbrush, but rather charred plants and scorched pine trees pierce the rock and ash.

No matter how desolate it may seem, this perspective is not the complete picture. Every plant in a pine rockland is specifically designed to withstand fire.  The pine trees have thick bark that protects the inner cambium.  The fronds of the saw palmettos burn quickly so that fire moves rapidly through the underbrush rather than burning longer and hotter.  Even small seemingly insignificant plants can only flower after a fire destroys them.

What we see and experience in a scorched pineland can be depressing, but that which is hidden can be celebrated. The view from one perspective seems hopeless and death seems apparent, yet the deepest parts of the plants are still alive, having been protected by the thick outer bark. Deep inside and far beneath the surface of the ground, the plants are already beginning to recover from the fury of the flames. In fact, they have been strengthened by the fire, which tried to destroy them.

The trauma I have endured over my lifetime and the emotional wounds left behind remind me of that pineland after a wildfire has swept through. While it seems as though all that is left in its wake is desolation, I have learned that THAT is only one part of the picture.  In the aftermath of such destruction, I have even more resolve to recover, to live, and to flourish.  That fire doesn’t completely destroy me; rather it reveals the unexpected – incredible beauty, which, without the furious fire, would never be seen.

If you have experienced the wildfire of trauma and the searing pain left behind, find hope in these words. Fire does not necessarily destroy; it can strengthen the deeper parts of you and make it possible for incredible beauty to be revealed.

“When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT

www.theclinicalchristian.com


Raised in the Midwest, Molly Messer discovered writing as a way of coping with a tumultuous life resulting from an unstable family, sexual abuse and assault, trauma, and a genetic predisposition to mental illness. Molly has had extensive technical writing experience in the environmental field. However, her passion is to share relatable stories and information in ways that encourage and inspire others. Her insatiable desire to learn and teach combined with transparency and deep compassion for others, enables her to reach out in unique ways through the written word. She started her first blog in 2012 (www.godmycomfort.wordpress.com) with the desire to find joy in the midst of sorrow after her father’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. She recently started to write blogs for The Clinical Christian delving into the challenges of mental illness and stigma related to mental health both inside and outside the church.


Molly Messer

Raised in the Midwest, Molly Messer discovered writing as a way of coping with a tumultuous life resulting from an unstable family, sexual abuse and assault, trauma, and a genetic predisposition to mental illness. Molly has had extensive technical writing experience in the environmental field. However, her passion is to share relatable stories and information in ways that encourage and inspire others. Her insatiable desire to learn and teach combined with transparency and deep compassion for others, enables her to reach out in unique ways through the written word. She started her first blog in 2012 (www.godmycomfort.wordpress.com) with the desire to find joy in the midst of sorrow after her father’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. She recently started to write blogs for The Clinical Christian delving into the challenges of mental illness and stigma related to mental health both inside and outside the church.


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