Pressed Beauty

by Jenn Hale

June 9, 2021


Here we are at the beginning of a new season. People are emerging. This summer promises to be a little more full than last summer. We are hoping to “get back to normal.” Except . . . we are not the same. We have been changed.

We have collectively gone through the unexpected, yet individually we have experienced it in a myriad of different ways. For you, maybe it has been a season of unexpected beauty, shedding off the unnecessary, and enjoying a newfound simplicity.

Or, maybe, it was a season of trauma. Some experienced little traumas like disappointment after disappointment or the difficulty of change after change. Some experienced severe trauma like the closing of a business and the death of a dream or even the death of a loved one.

For most of us, it has been a combination of the two. Being invited (or in some cases forced) into changes we wouldn’t have otherwise considered and experiencing their benefits and beauty, while simultaneously experiencing the blows of major losses.

That is the case for me. As my eyes scan the living room I see evidence of all of this. I see an almost finished national parks puzzle on the coffee table (something my kids and I had never enjoyed or considered pre-pandemic), candles that are lit more often now that it’s become a habit, new plants that I tended to because I was at home more, and a photo book of all our strange 2020 adventures so that we’ll never forget the sourdough we made, the craft projects we attempted, and the front yard picnics we had.

But, turning my head just a bit, I can see the rustic hand-carved wooden duck on my fireplace—carved by my dad and given to me by my mom after my dad unexpectedly passed away mid-2020. There is loss, new life and resilience all in the same room.

The bottom line remains; we are not the same. We have been changed. And I can’t help but wonder what God will bring from it all. Our transformation can be one of our greatest gifts. Like flowers that have been pressed, we have a lasting beauty formed out of pressure—pointing to a God who brings beauty from ashes, redeems us from our pits and gently prepares us for what’s ahead.

Jenn is embracing the new things in her life including Pilates (to counteract all the 2020 sourdough), having a daughter who is now officially a junior higher, a son who is now driving and working at his first job (what in the world??) and learning the ropes in her new role as Shepherd of Women’s Ministry.