There Will Be Beauty From These Ashes

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

It has been over three years since I last released an issue of Lola Z, the last being the third issue entitled ‘Shake The Dust’. I had released it off the back of a relationship I had ended months prior and the process of creating the issue was cathartic and healing. Heartache had prompted me to create the last issue and it was in this space I felt so inclined to walk through the process of grief again, to create something that would inspire hope and healing for those who would encounter it.

In regards to the pursuit of a fourth issue, the idea was birthed from an encounter unlike I had ever had before with that of sorrow and suffering, on the morning of 22nd of January, 2019.

I was at home in Sydney with my mamma and one of my best friends, Allie. The morning arrived without any warning that at 11:34am my entire world as I knew it would change forever. I heard a loud wail from the bedroom where my mamma was and rushed in to find her absolutely bereaved, she spoke only a few words; "it's your father." The moments after I fail to comprehend the magnitude of what my heart felt, it's not often a moment I relive often. I can recall weeping on the couch with my mamma and allie for what felt like an eternity. Words fail to express the weight and sudden loss my heart felt in that moment and that which is still ever-present. And yet, words have been a comfort in this past year and half especially, to at least try to put into words the unfathomable which I have discovered to be a sweet and tender release of when I have felt so consumed in torment. On this day that changed my world forever, I was brutally thrust into a world without my father. My pappa bear. The first man who had ever spoken to me "i love you", the one to whom would be there to walk me and my sisters down the aisle, to one day be called 'nonno' (grandpa), to be an ever-present help for when my car needs fixing (which seems to be often), to speak encouraging and wildly accurate prophetic words over my life, to traverse more wild and beautiful countries with, to be continually annoyed at how fast he would eat and to be embarrassed by how often he would be a goofball in front of people. When my pappa welcomed endless day the day, he became face to face with the divine maker of us all. To be confronted with the sudden despairing loss of a loved one, I was also confronted with the finiteness and fragility of life. The very deep questions of my heart that have always lingered, now surfaced and I sought to find honest answers. I am still on that journey of seeking but one thing I do know; is that I will see my father again when I one day too, welcome endless day. To grieve, but with hope, has made all the difference. Between just surviving through such an ordeal and choosing to walk, rather than make my home in the valley of death. To see and push beyond the face of fear; freedom and a joy inexpressible. There is so much I am still yet to be taught, which I always want to accept with an open and willing heart. I know beyond a trace of doubt, that I can face that which will one day meet us all, with an assurance of knowing; that death does not have the final say. Jesus conquered the grave and evil triumphantly not in spite of it, but through it. He continues to bestow unto me, beauty for ashes and to anyone who chooses to receive His life giving gift of salvation.

This forthcoming issue is entitled “There Will Be Beauty From These Ashes” and will be exploring what it looks like to create work from the most vulnerable parts of ourselves, from the places of loss, of grief and heartache. Inspired from an ancient biblical text found in the book of Isaiah 61:3; “To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—“

I have endeavoured to pursue this creative outlet as a part of my healing journey and to honour that of my pappa. I know that my experience is synonymous with the human experience of grief and loss we have all suffered and no one is exempt from heartbreak. It is from this place of openness and vulnerability that these works will have been created for this issue. Rather than shying away from these shared experiences we have instead embraced the depths of these emotions, to inspire hope and truly create beauty from ashes. The release of this issue seems to be more timely than I had ever envisioned, more so now than it might have ever been.

- Rachela