from dust to dust
“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.