It still startles me, the sudden smudge that randomly appears on a few faces just as winter is ending. For a while I just watched, wondering, and like with most things that seem foreign I was happy to not immediately dive in and partake.
God is good, all the time though, and so when the time had been ushered in for my church to join with an Anglican one that practiced Lent more official-like with ashes and all, I just went with it and it was glorious. But today it seems truly like an imposition. The imposition of ashes means the laying on of something as a burden and burdened I find myself already even before the lady murmurs to me that I am dust and I murmur back my thanks for this truth.
I am ripe with anger as a late phone call at my desk spewed forth an unjust situation that no amount of prayer can fix. Whatever are the ashes made of, I wonder. What must be burned to make the art-dust for our foreheads? What must I give up this season, is the more pressing selfish wonder of my small night. We only ever feel the imposition of the ash on our own forehead, and perhaps this alone is burden enough for us.
What would it of been like to have the burdens of the whole world heaped upon you? To have all the injustices ascribed to you so they could be put to death for good. I fear I know full well what he is asking me give up and it is my anger at injustice to which I am clinging to like its my firstborn who had died in the night and I'm willing her to live again with all my might.
I will give it up though. And any claim I think I have to withhold forgiveness to the worst of us, who prey on the weak, for it is not mine to withhold. I feel the gentle weight of the ash on my forehead and that is enough weight for me for today. The weight of the world is meant for another.