Enjoying Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday.

When I was a kid in Michigan–midway through the last century–everyone wore the sign of ashes on this day. Now, it is almost a shock when you meet someone with the smudge on their forehead.

There is a lot of talk about spirituality these days, and there are plenty of people running around claiming their religion is the only true way (“America is a Christian nation”), but I don’t observe much reverence.

That is how I have come to understand Ash Wednesday, not as a day laden with guilt (that is what I grew up with) but as a day of gratitude for the presence of God in my life and in the world. Lent is a time set aside to help me get closer to God, and thus closer to the true, beautiful self God is creating with me.

Stephen Covey writes, “When people seriously undertake to identify what matters most to them in their lives, what they really want to be and do, they become very reverent. They start to think in larger terms than today or tomorrow.”

May we enjoy this day, set aside for us to know our source, and our possibilities.