The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. - Moliere
Just in case you failed Egyptian Mythology, (or didn't bother with it like me) let me give you the cliff notes I found online.
The Phoenix is an "Egyptian mythological bird of red, gold and purple plumage, colors of the rising sun. The phoenix, symbolizing rebirth and resurrection, died in the fire of the funeral pyre, but arose from the ashes."
In November of 2006, I died in a kind of fire. My life as I knew it, came crashing down into a funeral pyre and ignited. There were ashes alright! Lot's and lots of ashes.
There were nights that I would rock back and forth listening to a song called "Calling All Angels" hoping that if I replayed it enough times, they'd hear me and come descending on a golden staircase to save me. (As it turned out they did...I just didn't know it yet.)
It doesn't matter what happened to unleash the hounds of hell that ripped my insides out. What does matter is there was fire, there were ashes, I died and was buried under them, and I rose.
There were times I was sure I would never again see the light through the ashes. There were times I didn't want to see the light through the ashes. Every night would melt away into another day and the sun would rise as if that were alright under the circumstances.
At times, I would welcome morning believing that all had passed and I was whole again! By noon I'd be gathering the ashes around myself trying to put out the light that I was still too raw to face.
Healing comes in waves, and so it was with me. It was happening as I rocked and listened, and prayed. It was happening when I moved the ashes and peeked out, and it was happening as I was gathering them back around myself. It happened as I confided in trusted friends. It happened as each tear fell and it happened when laughter forced it's way out to break the monotony.
I don't believe for a second that I suffered more deeply than others have and still will suffer. I don't believe my pain was unique in any way other than it was mine. I do believe that all suffering has purpose and teaching to offer us. I say "offer" intentionally. It won't be forced upon us and we won't be compelled to accept it, but the gift is extended if we care to reach for and open it.
Having faced enough mornings since that time, with the attendant healing they bring, I'd like to pretend that I'm now fireproof. I'd like to believe I'm impervious to pain and suffering and having made it through one of the darkest hours of my life, I'll now be able to blissfully sally forth through the rest of my time here with nary a care in the world. Wouldn't we all?
The truth is, if I had any idea the inner knowing that facing those dark nights of the soul would open me up to, I might jolly well have lit myself on fire!
Adversity is not a pleasant teacher, but it's a great one. The lessons I've learned "the hard way" are lessons that stay with me and give me the grit to stare the future in the face and say "bring it!"
We all have an inner Phoenix. I didn't know that until I met my own. I don't know when you'll have the chance to meet yours, but if you haven't already, then I pray you feel it when your angels come marching in, and as you rise from your own ashes, I hope you'll be even more beautiful than the mythical bird described above.
Next time the pyre timber begin to stack up around you, embrace the lessons waiting for you, channel your inner Phoenix and be ready to soar!