Ash Wednesday? Celebrate!

The disconnect is surreal. Today is Ash Wednesday, the day when Christians around the world get reminded of their mortality. The faithful who go for imposition of ashes are told, “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” 

But I’m sitting by a hotel pool on the beach in Puerto Rico. Kids are playing in the surf, pelicans are diving for breakfast, lizards scamper through the lush foliage. Life is everywhere. Is this a day to be reminded of death?

In Cleveland, where I live, February is gray and bleak (that’s why we’re in the tropics!) It is easy to think about the fragility of life when the sun is hidden and the snow turns to slush. But maybe the incongruity I’m feeling is the whole point. Life is abundant, redolent with possibility and celebration, but it is even more precious because we know it is temporary, our share of it is limited.


Remember, O mortal, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return, and celebrate!


(Ashes photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash)