Last night I watched as my small son stood solemnly at the communion rail and received ashes on his forehead. Of course, he doesn’t yet know what it all means, but then, sometimes I don’t know what it all means either.
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
I don’t want to remember that he is dust, that this beautiful child I brought into the world is dust and frailty.
I don’t want to be dust either. I want to be… more.
And as I sit here in the twilight of an impossibly warm February day, this first day of Lent, it’s hard to think of dust.
My daffodils are poking up, and the tree in front of the house is covered with tiny promises that spring is coming… is here… well, almost.
And yet, I am dust, formed from dust, and to dust I will return. Sounds less than inspiring, and yet…
As the warm breeze caresses everything in the house like the breath of God, I remember…
I am God-breathed dust. Only dust until God added God’s own breath. And the breath that brought me to life will sustain me through returning to dust and beyond into the new earth.
And so I am content dust.
The blade that divides these lights
mirrors both–is one.
Time and eternity
stand in the same day
which is now in time, and forever
now. How do we know?
We know. We know we know.
They only truly live
who are the comforted.
–Given, Sabbaths 1999, “VIII,” Wendell Berry