Beauty for Ashes

by Cheryl J. Howell
October 20-25, 2011

There has to be a song
Buried down deep within,
There over sixty years—
Since I was six—it’s been.

Twas a long time ago
But the pain didn’t fade.
Historic scenes wander
In memory replayed.

My teacher saw the bruise—
Oh the pain of my shame!
I didn’t want to tell,
But the teacher played no game.

“Where’d you get that big bruise?”
I knew I could not lie—
I had to tell the truth,
Though I might rather die.

How could I tell on him?
And let anyone see—
At school or anywhere—
The mark he left on me.

The story unfolded…
Of course I loved my dad—
Bruises, more than a few,
All because he got mad.

There has to be a song—
A song to get me through
For healing from the shame,
Anger that lingers, too.

I know now that is why
The coals smoldering low,
Will flare up in anger
From a fire long ago.

An emotional hostage
Of circumstances then,
Stuck in an old prison
One without bars, my friend.

Now sixty years later
I bring to You my pain.
Please hold me as Your child
So my freedom I can gain.

© 2012 Cheryl J. Howell. All rights reserved.
Photo by G.W. Grimm-Howell

There has to be
a healing song:

Beauty for ashes
The oil of joy for mourning
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. 

- Isaiah 61:3