Two years ago I waited in the hospital in Alabama for my granddaughter to make her entry into the world. She arrived as scheduled, and promptly made us wait to get to hold her. Her lungs didn't inflate well when she was first born, which reminded us all of a great lesson...we are not in control.
Yesterday she received ashes on her forehead for Ash Wednesday. I should say, she and a good deal of the earth's population received these ashes as a reminder of that great lesson also. We are still not in control. We get to make choices and decisions, but the truth is exactly what the priest or deacon says as he traces the cross of Christ on our foreheads "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return."
Jordan told me Evie was all excited that she got a "dirt blessing". She's right, it looks like dirt. It's actually the burnt remains of the palms from last year's Palm Sunday Mass. That was the one where we were all excited by the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the people were SO excited that he was there and laid palm fronds on the road before him as he rode in on the colt of an ass. Just before my sins nailed him to a cross. Mine, yours, all of ours, because he didn't have any of his own.
Evie's right! It is a dirt blessing. We started as dirt and we'll end that way. The important part is what we do while we are MORE than dirt.
For that brief moment of time between when our lungs inflate with the breath of God until we give back our last breath of God when our time here is over, we are more than dirt.
I have been taught that the breath of God contains within it some of His divinity, which is in each of us. So maybe our job while we're here is to give it away. Give your divinity to every person you meet by acknowledging theirs. Give away the stuff that really matters. Give time. Give Love. Give kindness and gentleness. Give forgiveness and acceptance and find the beauty that this world is searching for and can't seem to see. Share your vision while your eyes are still able to see. Share your laughter while your mind is still able to see the humor in life. Share your song as long as your voice holds out. Then just love.
Evie's a big girl now with her very own dirt blessing, and even though she's only been with us for 2 short years, it seems like she's always been.
This year, for Lent, use your days wisely. Be a blessing, even if you're a dirty one.