Last summer, as I made my first visit to the midwives to plan for the birth of our baby girl, I passed by, for the first time, the unmistakable, glaring signs of destruction left behind by a string of deadly tornadoes which had ravaged our state only a couple months before.
I was surprised that after two months it looked like the winds had ripped through just yesterday. A distinct path of trees, gnarled and stripped bare, remained, along with homes and buildings barely boarded up. Would it ever be the same? What would become of these trees devastated by destruction? How long would they lay broken and barren before they were cut down from despair?
Yet, as I returned home from my final midwife visit - the six-week, post-partum check-up for little one and myself - I noticed something remarkable.
These same trees, twisted and broken for months, never changing, a constant reminder of what had been, were blooming with new buds. Broken limbs sprouted green leaves. The areas which once seemed to be irreparably damaged were now, still bent and torn, showing signs of new life.
I found it amazingly appropriate that this would be the sight I would see on this, the anniversary of the death of a precious friend.
One year ago, we mourned, we wept, we cried out. Would it ever be the same? What would become of this mess left behind?
And, no, it's not the same. Life has continued, but brokenness remains. Yet, from those twisted ruins, new life has come forth. There are buds of hope springing forth from the devastation left behind.
Our God remains faithful and there will always be beauty from these ashes. But beauty and brokenness can, and often do, co-exist. I thank Him for the constant reminders of His hand at work through all life's storms.