a lenten ash
Lent decided to make a grand entrance this year, complete with soul-wrenching lessons in humility, patience, and charity. I could have embraced these situations with grace and maturity, but I didn’t. Instead, I wailed and gnashed my teeth. I brooded over every detail. I jumped to conclusions. I stressed over every aspect. I wrestled with anxiety and fear. Basically, I was a mess.
And then… I remembered that I am dust and to dust I shall return. I had been the ash, in more ways than one. The situations were a joint effort of mis-communication, but I could have handled them better – much better. I wanted to wallow in my hopeless misery, but Pope Benedict spoke of our dust-to-dust reminder with hope:
“It is in accord with this salvific perspective that the verse of Genesis is taken up by the Ash Wednesday liturgy: as an invitation to penance, to humility and to an awareness of our mortal condition, but not to end up in desperation, but rather to welcome, precisely in this mortality of ours, God’s unthinkable nearness, which, beyond death, opens the passage to the resurrection, to paradise finally rediscovered.”
(I don’t remember receiving an invitation to penance and humility because I know I would have sent back my regrets. But they showed up anyway. I suppose the black splotch on my forehead was my RSVP… Blast it! If the last three days are any indication of what the next thirty-seven will be like, I’m in for a long Lent. )
I am still trudging through the muck that was dumped on me with Lent’s arrival. But there is hope. Sigh… Even when I am dust (and an ash), there is hope.