Reflections from the Ash Heap
Within the past 24 hours, I have heard three different people refer to Job. These three are all in the midst of suffering, and Job is the guy with whom they commiserate. He is the one in the Ash Heap, and they join him there. And today, I sat with them in that heap.
It strikes me that none of them thought of the end of the story where God has something to say. Instead, they identify completely with Job's suffering. That's how it is on the Ash Heap. There are only ashes. And no one wants to be alone in their suffering. We want a hearing, an out-loud word that gets someone's attention. We want God's attention although we rarely say it because that somehow seems disrespectful, and we might find out that God isn't all that interested in how much suffering we have endured. And we all know what happened to Job eventually. He did go silent. But in the midst of suffering, who wants to be silent? Who wants to sit all alone with pain ravaging interior parts?
A thing happens while sitting in ashes. They get stirred up and we breathe them in. So not only are they on the outside, they are on the inside. And even though they are cool, they feel hot. They burn the innards and force us to cry out loud for somebody to do something, anything. It just doesn't feel good sitting there, and we want somebody to know, to care, to see, to affirm, and to hear.