A Chance


This year, for the first time in my life I felt I was to observe Lent.  I found an Ash Wednesday service and went to it.  The minister talked about how we would now be pilgrims on a journey of repentance, reflection and self-denial.  When he was done talking I followed him and the congregants along a path made of crosses marked out on the floor.  It led to a chapel where we stood in line to approach the minister.  When it was my turn he dipped his finger into a mixture of ashes, made the sign of a cross on my forehead, and declared quite sternly “Remember, from dust you were made and to dust you will return.”  I was surprised by what he said.  I thought he was going to give me a blessing.  Well, maybe it was.  Maybe this reminder of my humanity, this reminder of my humble beginnings, and of my certain and humble end, was a blessing.  I went home pensive.

The next morning I woke up at 4 a.m. with the minister’s words racing through my mind.   “And to dust you will return.”  I was frightened.  My heart sped up.  Am I going to die today I wondered.  Is that why I felt led to the Ash Wednesday service (the first Ash Wednesday service I had been to in my life).  Is that why the minister told me that?  Or… was this instead a Scrooge-like experience.  A chance.  A chance to reflect on my life.  A chance to consider and confess my self-absorbed attitudes and actions, even my self-absorbed prayers.  Maybe this was a chance to try denying myself some of those small things so that I could live a truer, larger, more loving life.  Yes, I think that’s what it was, a chance to see a better way to live.  And give.  A chance to say not just “God bless me” but “God bless us, everyone!”          

                        “For dust you are and to dust you will return.”  Genesis 3:19 NIV  

2 thoughts on “A Chance”

  1. Thank you for you real and honest reflections on your experience. I,too, decided to experience Lent in a more traditional way. God often surprises us with his grace and personal message for us in these times.!


    1. Rita, Glad to know another pilgrim on the journey. Please let me know what you learn along the way friend. Blessings!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: