Beauty for Ashes

Isaiah 61: 1-3 “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

This has not been fun. The coronavirus is not funny, it is not a joke, it is not fake news. It is real, it is deadly and it is insidious. We had no personal control over the virus and could not stop it on our own. It was going to affect everyone, white and black, rich and poor, from the White House to my house, we have all been forced to live a new normal. Like it or not.

As the virus spread throughout Washington, it felt like being in a horror movie like the 1960’s movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. Who would be next to catch the virus? Would it be me or someone I love? Anything was possible.

Jerrell Davis, age 3

While we waited anxiously to see who was being affected by the virus, it was very easy to act as if this was something to brush off and it would simply go away. Hardly. When Seattle Public Schools closed on March 12th, people started thinking about this a little differently, like maybe it was more serious than they originally thought.

Jerrell Davis, age 3

The Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington continued to be the epicenter with elderly patients dying almost daily. But still, that did not bother most people because we were thinking, “I’m not old, my body is not vulnerable”. Wrong thinking. There have been people saying, “Black people are not getting the virus.” Wrong thinking again! Black people have gotten the virus and some have died from it. I believe we are finally getting to the place of understanding the seriousness of COVID 19. I know, because some people are showing their true colors by their behavior. There are those who have hoarded much needed sanitizer, toilet paper, masks and paper towels. They have bought these items in excess without regard for the needs of others. The spirit of greed has played out in the aisles of Costco and other drugstores. Just the other day as I returned to my car from Bartell’s drug store, a man getting in the car next to me shouted “There are no masks in this world, this is sh.t!!” I just looked at him, said “I know”, and calmly tried to get in my car. In a nearby Rite Aid drugstore, a man was so angry he began cursing in the aisle. When he saw me and another lady look up, he calmed down for a moment to say “Excuse me”. He too was angry about the limited supply of items available in the store.

Jerrell Davis, age 3

Well, I know you’re probably thinking, “I thought this was about beauty for ashes”. I am getting to it, just be patient. I wanted you to know why the idea even came to me. A few days ago, my son sent me a series of pictures from his childhood that he edited to show his sentiment about the coronavirus. The pictures you are seeing in this post were taken during a family outing at Universal City Walk, Hollywood when he was just three years old (1995). We had stopped at a dancing water fountain that randomly sprang up at different intervals. He thought it was amazing and fun. I was able to take pictures of him at different times while he played in the fountain. The last photo shows him crying because he got completely soaked! When he sent me the edited version of the photos, I was so tickled as they accurately depicted my feelings about the current situation we are in.

Jerrell Davis, age 3

While COVID 19 is not funny in the least, we have to keep living and do our best to keep our heads up and find joy in our day to day lives. Believe me when I say I am encouraging myself while I encourage you! Isaiah 61:3 says, “To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, and the oil of joy instead of mourning”. All I can say is “HALLELUJAH!” I need that! I believe we all need it. We need spiritual restoration from the devastating effects of the coronavirus on our world. So when my son sent me those photos, it made me smile and realize that I could still have a sense of humor. I could laugh and be joyful, and openly share that I am grateful to be alive and healthy. Make no mistake, that does not mean it is okay to make fun or light of those who have been or still are affected by the coronavirus. We should be showing love, kindness, grace and mercy to all. We are responsible for helping each other through this pandemic. We still have life, which means we still have time to pray and unselfishly give of our time and talents to help one another through this season. We have time to take groceries to someone in need, give cash to someone in need, make meals for someone, or call those you have not checked on for a while. There are many ways to make a difference right now, to give your neighbor the gift of “beauty for ashes”. I hope you are not one of the people who have hoarded items that are needed by others. If you do have extra supplies, please share them with someone who does not have as much. The Lord requires us “to take care of orphans and widows” (James 1: 27)!

What are you doing to give “beauty for ashes”? I know that WA-BLOC (Washington Building Leaders Of Change) is leading “Feed the Beach” and providing food to 150-200 Rainier Beach residents every Tuesday and Thursday. They have been leading this effort since March 13th. They are way ahead of everyone else. My employer, Seattle Municipal Court, is paying my salary right now, even though I am not able to work from home, and I am grateful. My husband’s non-profit organization, Rainier Beach Action Coalition, closed for two weeks starting March 25th. RBAC leadership made the decision to pay staff during the closure. Say Amen somebody! My sister Fai delivered a lemon meringue pie to my doorstep. My neighbor, Dr. Polly Fabian is providing our family with important information about COVID 19 and staying healthy, my friend Annjanette sends me articles and ministry materials to strengthen my faith, my cousin Daryl and my friend Carliss send scriptures to strengthen my faith, and my neighbor Scott edged my grass just because he is a good neighbor. My son even brought over a care package that included gummy vitamins, a bag of frozen tater tots (HILARIOUS), batteries and a disposable camera to photo chronicle this unprecedented time. These things are beauty for ashes for me. Let me know what restores you and your family during this time. What is your beauty for ashes, oil of joy and garment of praise? May God continue to bless you and keep you healthy.

Enjoy this song by Mary Mary, “Can’t Give Up Now”.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gregory Davis
    Mar 27, 2020 @ 11:38:39

    Thank you once again. First for your encouragement to me, second for just plain writing, third for your creativity, fourth for staying in the Lord, fifth for your encouragement to others, sixth for letting me walk with you, seventh for…..


  2. Shawn
    Mar 28, 2020 @ 00:15:25

    Thank you to my number 1 fan. I love you. Shawn


  3. misshappya
    Apr 15, 2020 @ 02:31:18

    Yes Thanks for your constant creative content that CARES!
    Sorry it took so long for me to get around to reading this, but Illinois is now going through what hit Seattle. So glad all is well with my Seattle family! Love yall so much and we must visit yall at some point in the far future! But God!

    Our lives have been turned upside down. 30 years on my job…IN a two week period, I went from working from home to being laid off – forloughed for 3 months maybe longer. Still waiting for my first unemployment check. But God!

    I was a happy Empty nester now taking care of 2y and 4y old grandkids. Luckily my son got a essrntial job and is bringing home the bacon.
    I feel blessed through it all. And will update you with joy and laughter when we all come out of all of this madness smelling like roses and whiter than snow! But God!


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