When the smoke clears, there is grace.

This situation happened last year, but I have never shared it with anyone. I thought I would finally tell this amazing story.

Last summer on a warm afternoon, I was outside burning in the backyard. The flames were quickly consuming all of the brush and excess garbage I threw into it. I didn’t look at what was in the garbage bag as I threw it onto the fire. All I knew was that it contained old fillings, excess unneeded paperwork, and other loose odds and ends. The hot fire took the bag and all the contents inside slowly turned to ash and smoke. I threw some more tree branches and unwanted cardboard into the flames. I was gazing into the fire, lost in a myriad of thoughts and was slowly being hypnotized by the flames.

Suddenly there was a popping noise and sparks burst from the brush pile. I snapped back into focus and watched as two small pieces of cardstock shot their way out of the fire and into the sky above. They fell back to earth like a smoldering, out of control space capsule. I found the charred pieces of smoking cardstock and discovered what they were. I was in shock.

Icons. I had icons in my brush pile.

Now to be fair, they were the bookmarks that churches usually have laying around for free during coffee hour. But an image of something holy is still an icon, and as they are windows to heaven, they deserve our respect.

I picked up my two charred icons, (Saint Piasios and Saint Porphyrios) and carefully moved them into the house. Charred as they were, miraculously the actual image of the saints were unharmed.

Lord have mercy. May we never forget the majesty and awesomeness that the heavenly and spiritual realm possess.

—–

Flash forward to this afternoon.

I wanted to share this story with you all, but one of the burned icons was lost. The charred icon of Saint Paisios was sitting just where he had always sat: in the office closet, on the piece of wood we intended to mount him and Saint Porphyrios to. However, Saint Porphyrios was nowhere in sight. My wife and I moved all the boxes and books and every other piece of junk we had. He was no where in sight. I gave up looking and we sat down to dinner. I said some silent prayers and asked for help.

After dinner I told my wife that I would do dishes and clean the kitchen if she would look (she is much better and finding things than I am) She began her search and was not having any luck until she made the sign of the cross. She said a quick prayer, and asked for help from Saint Phanourios (she didn’t actually remember his name, just the fact that you’re supposed to bake a cake after you find your lost item) and looked down.

There was Saint Porphyrios just sitting on the shelf right in front of her.

God is good. May we never find ourselves on the other side of his power, forever stuck in the flames.

-OT

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