Today strips away every illusion. “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.” Other days we avoid it like the plague, but it is our mortal truth. We die. Without exception.
It’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, when many Christians offer our foreheads for “the imposition of ashes” as the beginning of everything that the is truthful. Perhaps the term “imposition” is chosen because the recognition of our mortality and ultimate dependence rarely comes willingly, although it is the most “natural” of all cognitive recognitions.
We all run from death, but we never outrun it, leaving us to ponder on our most real day.
“Whatever lies on the other side of my years is beyond my mortal knowing. But I can and do affirm the eternity of God and the scriptural point of view that whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord, ‘All flesh is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God (YHWH, the eternal) shall last forever.’ Right now, that’s enough bread to live on today. . . . ”
– Excerpt from “When the Breath Flies Away,” Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness, p. 64, now available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Today, I wish you a most real day. . . beyond exceptionalism. It’s the beginning of all joy and personal responsibility.
- Gordon C. Stewart, trying to get real, Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Chaska, MN.