Posted on Wed, Mar 1, 2017
March 1, 2017
Still humming a clinging scrap of Christmas music, still squinting through the bright winter light bouncing off the shining gifts of Epiphany, suddenly the wind shifts and you get a face full of Ashes. Deep sighs and ashes and those somber words no one likes to say or hear, those words that make you think of all those friends and relatives who were swallowed by history so far, far too suddenly and way too soon, those words that taunt you, making you wonder if the 25-year warranty on your new gizmo or thing-a-ma=bob is just so much paper irony or a chuckle from heaven.
Remember that you are dust. Ashes and dust. And let me just mark it here on your forehead so you don’t forget, right here where all the world will see it and the well-meaning busy-bodies in the grocery store will awkwardly try to do you the favor of letting you know that there is a cross-smudge-of-mortality on your face.
Lent. Again. Forty days, not counting Sundays, of wondering about wandering in deserts of every kind, of negotiating one way streets that seem to take us on a 90 degree maze for rats, one road to another, inching along on streets that never allow their advertised speed, forty days to be mindful of inattentiveness, forty days to ponder why fasting goes so slowly. Forty days to unpack and weigh the stuff you carry each and every day, to gingerly avoid jagged edges as you sort through, evaluate and discard because you have begun to learn the wisdom of traveling light or simply because your legs and your soul are not as strong as they once were and why take a risk of tripping before your time and falling face first into the dust and ashes?
Lent. Again. Forty days of all things tempting and tempting all things, forty days of analyzed appetites, considered cravings, delusions diluted and dispensed, forty days to wonder if you have spent your life constructing a coffin or creating a chrysalis, forty days bedeviled by the seductive suggestion to do and be merely good when the broken heart of heaven is spending its last erg of strength and last drop of blood to trudge uphill and endure the messy, agonizing business of making you new.
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