Ash Wednesday Reflection

Today is Ash Wednesday AND we welcome the new moon… a potent day for connecting with the dust of the earth and setting an intention for healthy rhythms in our life.

For a long time, I’ve loved Ash Wednesday. The depth of this day has called my name. This, the first day of the Lenten season, brings recognition to the path of Christ that leads to his death and resurrection. In the Christian tradition, I’ve often experienced the main focus has been on LIGHT, light, LIGHT — focus on all that is glimmer. One thing I truly appreciate about the Lenten season is the invitation to go deeper within — to recognize that pain, ash and death is part of the whole. We must go THROUGH to get to the light…. LIFE-DEATH-LIFE cycle.

What I find interesting about “ash” is that, at times, I’ve felt the need to don my “sack of ashes,” wearing a grief-stricken state regardless of circumstance. I wouldn’t allow myself to fully lean into the pleasure of JOY. A few years ago, I caught Christ’s question in John 5:6: “Do you want to get well?” This question stirred my insides. I realized I had a choice in my wellness. I couldn’t expect an “outside force” to do everything for me. I essentially had to “pick up my mat and walk.” To me, the mat represents the grief and I’m asked to include it (pick it up) AND walk forward with the delight of new possibility.

I continue to learn how to “hold grief” and walk in joy. Inclusion of both leads to a fuller life of wholeness. Finding a healthy rhythm isn’t easy work, but it is important work — and it’s a choice each of us can make for ourselves. We are not made to simply wear a sack of ashes. We are not made to ignore the pain and only seek light. As we welcome Divine Love to walk with us, our grief becomes the very thing that leads us to hold deep abiding joy for our life. Because we cry, we laugh deeper, heartier.

Blessings to you this day.