I’ve always loved this scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It’s the moment Harry first meets Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, just before it bursts into flames and is reborn from its own ashes. “Fascinating creatures phoenixes. They can carry immensely heavy loads, and their tears have healing powers”, Dumbledore explains.
I imagine many people find themselves drawn to this particular “mythical” creature as I do because they’ve been through things that made them feel like the world was coming to an end, gone through the fire, and yet somehow managed to sift through the ashes and make something new of themselves and of their lives. I feel like I’ve done this so many times in my life I must be a kin to Fawkes. A divorce, heartbreak, health battles for myself and my children, more heartbreak. Military life. Today is a burning day for me, friends. A day I’ve spent in absolute heartbreak because I’ve had to face some pretty harsh facts, my mind spinning so fast I couldn’t move from my chair. A day where I realized that despite being in complete personal turmoil I have a mechanism that allows the machine to keep moving. I get kids through meltdowns, take them to school, do business, keep answering emails, take phone calls, and organize shit around me. Things keep getting done as I am bursting into FLAMES. All evidence to the fact that this is not my first burning day, wizards.
I can’t write the specifics of why I’m in the place I’m in at the moment, which made me stop and ask myself, “Well then why write at all?” I guess my answer is the story is not in the specifics of the problem, but in how I’m handling it. How we all handle it. I speak to friend after friend about these burning day moments. Days when everything in our military lives and our marriages comes to a head. Days when the weight of the loads we carry becomes too much. Days we lose it, deal with it, and pick it all back up again as if nothing happened. But something happens, witches. A phoenix doesn’t just burn to be reborn. It burns to release its burdens. It symbolizes the indestructible spirit. Women in particular have a strength and a resolve that are so deeply present inside of us that we can miss the opportunities we have to see that they’re in our possession and to see ourselves for what we REALLY are – an incomparable force. The gift of a burning day comes after we realize we walked through a fire and though we are sooty and tired, we are still FREAKING standing.