Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ash Wednesday

We gathered this evening with our church community for Ash Wednesday. It was a beautiful service and a reverent way to enter into the season of Lent.

I'm struck tonight at how different my experience was at last year's Ash Wednesday service...

I remember standing at a cemetery on a crisp, sunny, winter day thinking about the cross, death, and what Lent would be about. In the midst of a service on death, my mind was very much thinking about life. Cynthia was due to deliver Cara in only a few weeks. Our Lent season would surely be interrupted by Cara's entrance into this world. Little did I know that I'd be standing a cemetery a month later burying my daughter on Holy Saturday.

Cynthia and I stood there tonight thinking again about death, Christ's journey into the Lenten wilderness, the cross and Resurrection. My perspective has totally changed. Last year, I think I only understood life. This year, I know death all too well. I've experienced the depth of loss, death, pain and grief. And yet in the midst of our Lenten journey, the Resurrection and life can't be denied. We made a vow tonight to follow Christ in the wilderness for the next forty days, but we do this knowing that eventually new life will spring forth. Joy, hope and life will win. Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter will be here soon.


Carly Marie said...

Praying for you both :)

Leslie Parkins said...

I feel like I awkwardly shared an ill-expressed thought with you on Ash Wednesday. The readings and the service struck me as so strongly correlated with your previous blog entry on acceptance.

On Ashe Wednesday, we name how in the midst of death, we are called to embrace the ressurection. Ash Wednesday is the day set aside in the liturgical calendar to renew a spirt to consider our mortality, our relationship with God, and our journey of seeking God in our lives. After the service, it occured to me that perhaps you have been experiencing your own recurring Ash Wednesday since Cara Grace's death... I'm not sure if that is how you would characterize it and I wouldn't want to name your experience. But it did make me consider that the feelings I have on Ash Wednesday tend to be unique to that day, for the two of you it might be feelings you have everyday...or feelings that you find yourself confronted with on an on-going basis.

With that in mind, it made me appreciate the other blog entry on isolation...that Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a 40 day journey for some of us, and for others it is another step on an ongoing journey of facing these issues everyday...journeys that may be taken together or in isolation. I thought that entry was so insightful and I'm so thankful you shared it.

Once again, little Cara Grace has entered into my relationship with God and and my relationship with others. I think her tiny life is having such a meaningful impact on how I consider my God, my faith, and my friends. I'm so thankful for her.

Love to you both, hope this provides some clarity around my fumbled words from the other day. I'm so sorry that I often don't have words that express my feelings.

Cynthia said...

Your thoughts then and now are perfect and appreciated. I apologize that my response wasn't better Wednesday. I was:
1. Wondering if I had actually written something insightful
2. Trying to figure out which post you were referring to

So I appreciate your comment here, because it does tie all this together for me, and you are correct, we have lived without for so long. As I have said before, we aren't giving up anything for Lent but rather adding to our daily practices, because we gave up so much when Cara died.

Thank you for your beautiful thoughts about our daughter. It helps us to know that her brief life made such a lasting impact on those around us.