“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Today is February 10, 2016. it is Ash Wednesday, traditionally the beginning of the forty day season of Lent. Today I accompanied my dear friend Gawain de Leeuw to the White Plains train station, where we greeted commuters making their trips. As we stood there together, inscribing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful, and repeating these words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return,” I noticed two things. First, the people seemed so grateful–they were astonished that someone was there in a train station, engaging in a sacred ritual of the church! And they seemed so grateful! The other thing I noticed is how oddly comforting I found these words. We are “thrown” toward our death, we cannot escape our own impending death someday. In the midst of life we are in death, says the famous prayer. Bearing the ashes on our foreheads is a visible reminder of our mortality, and it can make us grateful for life–life itself. How precious life is. How much we wish to share it with other, pilgrims who journey with us upon this good earth. I hope you have a blessed Lenten journey, whoever you are, and wherever you are traveling this morning, on your journey through life.

GAWAIN ASHES