Remember You Are Dust, And To Dust You Shall Return
One by one they came forward.
People of every race.
Young and old.
Gay and straight.
Rich and homeless.
Some were in tears when they came to me.
Time and again I dipped my finger into the bowl of ashes and placed a sign of the cross on the person's forhead. "Remember you are dust," I would say to each one, "and to dust you shall return."
Sometimes I would look at a much loved friend and parishioner and think, "He'll be dust soon. His cancer is getting the best of him. She won't be here much longer, her addiction is killing her."
I thought of myself. Ash Wednesday is a time to repent, prepare for Easter, and also to remember that we are mortal. We are all headed for the grave, and while there is a Resurrection, I realize so many of the things I think are important are not.
I should think of that all day long, every day.
I drive in a hurry down the turnpike -- "Remember you are dust, it's not that important to do all the things on your list of things to do."
I get angry at other drivers -- "Remember you are dust, it's not worth wasting what time is left with anger.
I work all day long, skip a day off, shorten my vacation -- "Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return."
As they say in Shawshank Redemption, "Get busy livin', or get busy diein'."