Today I remember Ash Wednesdays past. They haven’t always occurred in Lent, or once a year. I recall one in particular, when a soul-sister friend emailed, “You aren’t alone in your despair. I’m sitting with you. Together we are robed with ash.”
“Return to me with your whole heart” – Joel 2:12
In my humble opinion, having suffered enough in this lifetime, thank you very much, I used to say, and did for years, “I’m so glad I don’t believe in reincarnation, I would never want to live this life over again.” A new friend replied to my comment with a phrase that grabbed me and never let go: “Oh, how sad for you. Life is so sweet, and full of love. I will be so sad for it to end.”
We were both talking of here and now, in flesh and blood, time and space, but our orientation was so very different. So too were our life experiences. However, her orientation brought an awakening awareness to me: when I die, and become ash, I desire to have been so passionately alive, that I will be grateful for the life I’ve lived, and experience deep joy, in spite of suffering. And even if I would have made different choices in a life do-over, I will be grateful for all of it…everything. I will savor the unique, distinct, irreplaceable time I’m gifted to inhabit. That simple phrase from my new friend caused me to re-orientate my life. Faithfully, step by step, over years, my orientation and outlook shifted. I am thankful, for even the ash times. We are never alone, even though existentially, we are alone. An animating Spirit is always, always with us. So too are friends, loved ones, and sometimes even strangers, who put skin on love for us.
You are unique, distinct, and irrepeatable. You will only live on this earth for a finite length of time. How do you desire to savor life? In these next forty days, what is it time to purify, and to let go…
Today I will savor in my heart … “I am unique, distinct, irreplaceable.”