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Beauty from Ashes

Beauty from Ashes

It is true that some of the most beautiful writing, music, and story have come from the periods of our history when we experienced the deepest pain, struggle, and loss of life.

Right now, our world is in a moment like this…

Already, art is beginning to happen.

Perhaps you saw this beautiful poem by Rev. Lynn Unger


What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20


My friend wrote this one. It has more cut to it, but I like it a lot…

Quarantine by David R. Dixon

We finally found our reason to stay away.
To keep our distance.
To avert and avoid.

To bypass, elude, give the slip,
steer clear, ditch, step aside,
shirk skip skirt, evade, duck, run
for cover, lay low, dodge,

the weak and the frail, the sick and the
old, the meek, the poor, the dirty and
disgusting, the smelling homeless, the
hungry and thirsty, the leper, the one
who might have HIV (sound familiar?),
those who mourn — even the merciful.

Clever to suggest it’s for their own good.
The pretense of prevention. We’re not in
favor of transmission unless it’s smallpox
and good news, guns and Coors Light,
Marlboros and iPhones, Hollywood and
shopping malls, Coca-Cola and diabetes.

To even say it’s out of love — brilliant!
That our exclusivity (I mean isolation)
hurts us more than it hurts you.
For should you be exposed to the places
we congregate, you might would see
from whom we segregate.

But most of all, truly genius
to say we are the contagious,
to make ourselves
the ones from whom they should
turn aside.

As if they wouldn’t notice
As if they haven’t known
all along
How we are the ones infected.

I also like this one that a friend shared with me…


When this is over
May we never again
Take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theater
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself.

When this ends,
May we find
That we have become
More like the people
We wanted to be
We were called to be
We hoped to be
And may we stay
That way – better
For each other
Because of the words

— Laura Kelly Fanucci

Art can be a great medicine for us in these hard times. I encourage you to look for it. My wife is taking photographs on her phone. I’m playing my guitar.

Take this moment to capture your feelings, to gain perspective, and to make something beautiful from ashes…


We are in this together
We will protect our brother
Our sister
While we are absent from one another.

Apart we remain united
United we remain separate

Until the day when we shall meet again face to face
And remember how good it is to touch one another’s hands

And feel another’s embrace

How good that day will be

Until then
Stay home
But stay connected
Alone we are not alone
We are in this together

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Ned Erickson

Ned is the Founder and Executive Director of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a non-profit dedicated to equipping people to live seamless lives as they grow into the men and women they were created to be. He is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed novel Clay. He, his wife, two children, dogs, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle, and chickens live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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