I’m going to put something out there: I really like Ash Wednesday. It’s not that I enjoy it per se, but there’s something refreshing about the notion that my humanity is not something to feel guilty about. Three years ago, when I was in South Africa, we took the kids from the after-school program down to the monastery for their Ash Wednesday service. Brother Andrew explained it to them brilliantly with his thick Scottish accent, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. It’s not a put down. It’s not saying ‘you’re dirt!’ but rather, let God do God’s job and you need to only worry about your own.”
Let me propose that this is the most appropriate day of the year to show up to church with a hangover. What better compliment to the ashes outside your head as a headache in your head- a reminder that you’re not invincible, but prone to gravity. The earthiness of our existence is inevitable. Embrace it for now.
“It is true that we make many mistakes. But the biggest of them all is to be surprised at them, as if we had some hope of never making any.”- Thomas Merton
p.s.- for those keeping track of my Lenten discipline, I’m 1 for 1 now. Cheers!