Wow. I am really behind in blogging. Funerals and your back going out will do that to a person!
I'm in the midst of Ash Wednesday preparations. I look forward Lent, and yet I don't. It's such a good spiritually deep time, where you can truly get serious about important life and death things. And that is precisely why in some ways I don't want to go there. It's easier NOT to go deep, it's simpler to stick to the candy-coated version of life, the Disney version of spirituality. Lent means hard work, it means effort, it means it will probably hurt at times, and it will mean undoubtably that I will change. Which sucks. And which is also awesome. All at the same time.
Tomorrow night I will put ashes on the foreheads of my parishioners. This is such a meaningful act for me. Some of these saints I smear with ashes now, I will bury before my tenure at the parish is over. The hardest yet sweetest is putting it on the children. Because it's hard to think of them as tied to death too. But they are. Yet because of Christ, they are tied to life, as surely as the elderly woman who struggles to get down the aisle with her walker. It's such a tough and deep and strong and bracing step into Lent, this Ash Wednesday business.
Tonight I will mix the ashes with the olive oil in preparation. I know that Lil' Princess will ask me what I am doing and why. She will want to understand. And she will have even more questions after tomorrow night. I know I'm going to have some of those parental moments when you just hope and pray you are able to open up an idea and the world in a way that helps your little one grow and learn. God give me the words and the understanding to help her, help myself, help the people of my parish, understand what this all means.
"Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."