Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning, for I put my trust in you;
     Show me the road that I must walk, for I lift up my soul to you.
Psalm 143:8

The flakes float feather-like. Caught in the light, they are suspended for a breath by illumination before they continue their soft inevitable fall. More like dandelion clocks in a late summer breeze than frozen water crystals. I stand still, my morning progress impeded by their impossible splendor.

For the most part, the snow this year has not been gentle. I have been keeping my head down, dodging chips, flecks, slivers of icy sleet that come hurling at me, flung in my path in a kind of assault. But this playful snowfall calls me to look up and out and take to heart the outrageousness of God who delights in the individual intricacy of each impossible flake.

Impossible too is this morning’s path of contrition, lament, and penitence. But it is with relief, finally, that I step onto the road where I can only discover that I am nothing but dust. As dust I do not have to travel with my head bowed, fighting against the bitter wind of disappointment and failure. As dust I lie waiting to be gathered up into the breath of God. As dust I am ready to be made new.

Flakes of ash brush my cheeks as I lift my forehead to be marked. Flakes of promises made and promises broken. Flakes of forgiveness. Flakes of hope. Flakes of impossible love.