There’s a place where the outer world and inner world meet. That place is quiet. Mysterious like a farm pond. Awkward. A first kiss kind of awkward. But to turn away from that place – too busy, too smart, too afraid, too skeptical – is to turn away from the very thing that can save us.
Not save us like a lifejacket from water. But save us the way water is necessary to lift a boat safely to shore. The thing that can destroy us is what what can save us.
Last week, on Ash Wednesday, I sat in our beautiful chapel, the doors wide open to the street, sun setting, light changing, cars rumbling past, people pausing and looking into the chapel like someone staring into their own tomb. I sat in a chair, alone, reading a book and waiting. Candles flickered upon the altar.
A few people walked into the chapel ready to receive the ashes. A few said, “Hello Father.” I didn’t correct them. I marked their foreheads with a cross of ashes. “From dust you came to dust you must go.”
Why do I want to weep every time I say the words? From. Dust. You. Came. (I’m okay with that part.) To. Dust. You. Must. Go. (That’s where I want to weep.)
I weep for my mother. Her name was Joyce. And grandmother. Her name was Agnes. And Ken Lawrence. And Harry Antrim. And Forrest Church. And Arthur Caliandro. My friends are dying. I weep for a little girl in Fort Worth. You fill in the blank.
This world rubs up against another world. This life against that life. Who we are touches what we want to become. It happens on a Wednesday. Ash Wednesday. Or the week after Ash Wednesday. Or a Tuesday. Or a Saturday afternoon. The time doesn’t matter. But it happens.
Take a Breath today. The door is open. Light is changing. A figure sits in a chapel waiting for you. Walk in. It’s all dust. It’s magic. It’s dust.