We are getting ready for Lent at our little church, working on the Ash Wednesday service and planning a small worship gathering outside to burn last year’s Palm Sunday palms to use for ashes. The Lenten season is one of my favorites—I come by contrition and repentance naturally, it seems. Usually the dark winter days lead into a time of slowing that readies my heart for reflection. This season, however, is fraught with busy as the dark days slowly yield to light.
We are still working on applications for Teddy’s college plans, filling out page after page of minutiae, dissecting my boy’s life and letting the value others have assigned to it mess with our heads and turn a process that should be joyful—hopeful, igniting dreams—into a dreaded exercise in competition.
The way our world does things sometimes doesn’t make sense. There is no place for a child whose mind is his best asset. We celebrate the athletes and the charismatic types, we applaud the artists, dancers, singers … but the introverted thinker is often overlooked. I tell him he must know who he is, he will find his place, life will welcome his gifts. But he looks at me and points to his forehead, “What I have is all in here,” he says. “It’s not … I don’t know how …” His voice is constricted, as if he doesn’t have enough breath. And I know his heart is breaking. Haven’t I also longed to be seen?
Remember you are dust …
The liturgy for Ash Wednesday rises up to meet me and I am reminded that I follow Jesus into the wilderness and all the way to the cross. For the stone to be rolled away, I must first embrace death; let go of the dirt and debris of this life and let this daily surrendering create resurrection in my heart.
This mumbo-jumbo makes no sense to an eighteen-year-old who stands on the cusp of life. It made no sense to me when I was his age. These things are too intangible, crumble in my fingers like ash.
How do I take my hands off of this?
I must embody. Let worship pry loose my fingers from all that I want, all that I dream. I remember that, yes, it is Friday. But Sunday is coming. Lord, have mercy. Sunday is coming.