Last week was the beginning of Lent and the observance of Ash Wednesday in the Christian tradition. Christianity is my tradition and Lent is one of my favorite spiritual seasons, as well as one of the more difficult ones. Christians begin the observance with the repeated phrase, “from dust you have come and to dust you shall return.” This reminder of our human condition of morality and limitations often feels counter-cultural, which is one of the reasons that I cherish this season.
The daily litany of
— do more – achieve more – perfect more
can lead me to focus on and believe that I fall short where others excel. And I wonder why I am often my own worst enemy when it comes to abundant grace, compassion, or love in my own life.
The Ash Wednesday refrain reminds me that my life span and capacity are limited. It also reminds me that life can arise from seemingly lifeless dust. While death brings both grief and fear, in the context of Lent and Ash Wednesday, the reminder of its presence in our lives provides a quiet, candle-lit, solace and grace. Each Lent, I am reminded again that
If I am able to accept my limitations without fear or anxiety
– then I am freed to focus on what I am given to do and able to do.
When I can see with gratitude
– then I am unbound from anxious competition that is born from the anxiety that there will never be enough and I must earn love.
Beginning with dust
— I can proceed from isolation to interdependence that values my “being” before I begin “doing”
While my intent was to write last week for a mid-week reflection – the conspiracy of ‘inspiration’ means that I write today. And perhaps you will read when the time is right. I want to include a note of gratitude to Fanny, who while receiving one of the Future 15 awards, took the time to let me know that she reads these reflections and they matter to her. Fanny, you were my inspiration this week!