Last night I officiated the Ash Wednesday service, marking the beginning of Lent. I've done a number of these, but this particular liturgical holiday is always amazing to me. Jessica wrote a post about why it's so meaningful to her on our joint blog, The Parsonage Family. I share many of her feelings.
I guess this particular year was extra special since it was the first time Kate got to participate in the imposition of ashes. Smearing a cross of ashes on my 1 month old daughter's forehead and telling her to remember that she is dust was quite surreal, and not just because she has no concept of dust, mortality, or even self yet!
In a very strange way, it was comforting to perform this ritual that reminded us that Kate is mortal. Normally parents don't like to think about the fact that their children will one day die like everyone else. But it serves to counter-balance the tendency that all parents, especially parents of babies, have where we assume that our child is the center of the universe and that the fate of Western civilization hangs on whether we follow every proscribed step and make our child the most functional human being that ever lived.
Jessica, Kate, everyone I have ever known and loved, and I are all just tiny specks in the grand scheme of the universe. And yet we are deeply loved and cherished by God. That means we are freed to pursue our dreams and to do everything we can to make this world a better place. If we fail, the sun will still rise tomorrow, and if we succeed, all the better.
Let us remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Thanks be to God.