ash wednesday in another way.

20120222-211614.jpghanging out with people at work.

I just had to do it. This morning I emailed my friend in North Carolina because today is a day we always loved to share. I remember standing with him outside, crushing the old palm branches of last year, putting them in a little pot, and burning them. We sat & watched them burn, making black, thick ashes. Then we mixed them with a little bit of oil and waited for the evening to come.

Early evening came & people filled in the seats as we began reading words reminding us who we are, what we’ve done, and what we’ve left undone in our lives. We gathered together to remind ourselves to return to the path we had once been on, to remember that we are called to be true to who we are created to be, to be true to ourselves; and to seek the way of the wilderness, which amazingly leads to love & wholeness.

The most powerful part of these nights was having people walk down to the front where my friend & I stood. I dipped my finger into the black ashes, looked into the eyes of the person standing in front of me, reminded them that they are loved, and marked a cross on their forehead. Amazing.

Yes, I missed those moments today. But I celebrated in a completely different way. I went to church to work this morning, but we have had no service like those I shared with my friend. Still, it was a great day of chatting with people (and we talked about doing the service next year if I’m still there!).

The rest of the day I was at my internship, my second job. I worked from 1 – 10 (which means I’m actually still working) so I had no time to go to a service at another church. However, this has been just as good. Of course the ritual of ash wednesday is powerful & important, but at this point in my life, being in the midst of people takes center stage. Perhaps this is my wilderness, my challenge. Living life in the middle of society, among all kinds of people, with all kinds of lives & backgrounds feels just as amazing, just in another way.

I still am reminded of who I am, who I have been, and who I am called to be in the middle of this crazy & beautiful world. I am still reminded of the importance of using these next 40 days to find my way again, through the wilderness, and to a life filled with love that spills over to everyone I meet.

So what am I gonna do for the next 40 days? I’m gonna find some balance… spending time with myself & with others. I’ve spent these few moments writing and it’s now time to turn back to the youth & my co-workers around me.

Try to take some time for yourself too.. you deserve it. Wishing you a peaceful, beautiful night, my friends. (and forgive my crazy grammar/writing mistakes. hehe).


0 thoughts on “ash wednesday in another way.

  1. Beautiful post. I only observed Ash Wednesday when I was younger but I can still feel the sentiment of your words. Finding balance is the perfect way to spend 40 days, good luck.

    1. Thanks & thanks for your comment! I will do my best to balance things. 🙂 And I hope that things go smoothly for you as you begin your Swedish classes (pretty soon, right?).

      1. Not soon enough! Thanks for remembering! 🙂 I still haven’t heard word from SFI, was hoping it would start next week. I’m going to get in contact with them in a few days if they don’t mail me.

  2. I’m on my way to an Ash Wednesday service in just a couple minutes. 🙂 I like how you described Ash Wednesday/Lent… about remembering who we are, seeking wholeness. This year I’ve decided to fast from using Facebook (at least the News Feed) and see if I can use the time I save from that to pray more and be more intentional about talking to people in person or on the phone. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m excited.

    I also noticed that you’re capitalizing things now… 😉 Was that a conscious decision, or did it just happen? I’m curious.

    1. carissa, i hope the service was good! good luck with fasting from Facebook & adding in other ways to be social. 🙂 as for my capitalization in this post, it is only because i did the post from my phone & the auto-corret capitalized everything, and i didn’t have the time to un-capitalize everything. hehe. no worries… i haven’t changed my ways!

  3. Very nice post… I also like ash wednesday and I’m not a religious person at all in any kind of traditional sense but I like the idea of giving something up – sacrificing – and being reminded of what’s really important in life.

    very nice.

    1. It’s true, Amber. I find it important to find some time to remind myself of what is important, to slow down a little bit, and actually focus on life instead of always rushing through every day. And, Lent gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  4. Your ash wednesday sounds marvelous (both present and past) – more detail than mine but just as inspiring nonetheless. I will being doing the same during these 40 days. Happy Lent!

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