from dust to dust

...It was Mr. Gold who counted time and eventually spoke first.

“Jacob, where do you find the strength to carry on in life?”

“Life is often heavy only because we attempt to carry it,” said Jacob.

“But, I do find a strength in the ashes.”

“In the ashes?” asked Mr. Gold.

“Yes,” said Jacob, with a confirmation that seemed to have traveled a great distance.

“You see, Mr. Gold, each of us is alone. Each of us is in the great darkness of our ignorance. And each of us is on a journey. In the process of our journey, we must bend to build a fire for light, and warmth, and food. But when our fingers tear at the ground, hoping to find the coals of another's fire, what we often find are the ashes. And, in these ashes, which will not give us light or warmth, there may be sadness, but there is also testimony. Because these ashes tell us that somebody else has been in the night, somebody else has bent to build a fire, and somebody else has carried on. And that can be enough, sometimes.” Thanks TSOldtimer for this.

Ash Wednesday is always a dreary day for me, for as Catholics we begin our 40 days of Lent which can mean fasting and self-sacrifice, and really, who ever looks forward to those things? However this year as I had ashes applied to my forehead in rememberance of our journey or in honor of our moral purification of this sacred time, I tried to think instead not of what lies ahead, but rather all that has been layed aside in the past year. And it was difficult for me to look at the bowl of ashes being carried from the Chapel and not think of my Dad.

"Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return."

It is amazing that the sum of a life is gone in an instant and all that we are left with are ashes; sinew and blood, muscles that once stretched to lift, hands that held mine, smiles and frowns--it is all lost as we return to ashes.

Comments

Thanks Amos. :)
I love you too. And I miss you...move to Michigan, ok?
JennPav said…
Wow, this made me cry a little.
What is that story from?
Also, for the record:

I was making dinner for Mike and I had to go to school. I had decided to do this massive meal-cooking undertaking of Kung Pao Chicken, Egg Drop Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, and Egg Rolls.
I hadn't eaten anything so I had a small bowl of the Kung Pao Chicken before class. Most of the day was already gone. I hadn't eaten ANYTHING. As I put the fork in my mouth I walked past the Calendar hanging on my fridge and LITERALLY as I ate a bite of chicken I read the words: "Ash Wednesday."
If I had literally noticed it ONE SECOND earlier, I would have been in the clear.

So much for no meat.
But then again, the last time I got ashes was with Tina, Nicole, and Kelsey from the cinema.

I am a bad lent person. :(
TSOldtimer said…
The story is an excerpt from the book "Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom for a Complicated World" by Noah benShea. Iddinit cute?
JennPav said…
Thanks, I am glad to know that. I think I need to own a copy.

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