Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ashes, Dust & Green Bags

Photo Source. Very cool tat design.

"Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return." -Genesis 3:19

On Ash Wednesday at church, I was reminded of my own mortality as my pastor rubbed ashes in the sign of the cross on my forehead.

Or more accurately, it was yet another reminder of my mortality, as a conversation with my sister on Tuesday had me thinking of croaking.

I was telling Jos about my post-Z body and the fine lines that have taken residence at the corners of my eyes whenever I squint. She was trying to reassure me that I (still) look good. I was telling her I agree: "No, I'M NOT SAYING I'M FAT! Augh. I look okay. Especially after having Zoe and having the neuro problems. But I do not look the same. My stomach sags... I have that 'Mommy' pouch. And my boobs have shrunk back, but they definitely aren't the same, ha ha ha! But breastfeeding will do that..."

Somehow, the conversation drifted to older Hollywood mothers like Halle Berry and Mariah Carey. We discussed how nowadays, even us regular chicks can look a whole lot younger. "But your insides," Jos emphasized, "are still your actual age. There's no antioxidant cream for your ovaries." And she's right. Despite the near-magic we can do on our outsides, our hearts, lungs, nerves, kidneys, and bones are impenetrable to such trickery.

Showing off my ash.

A few years ago, Jos saw an infomercial for those Debbie Meyer Green bags and purchased a bunch of them. Excited, she couldn't wait to pack her veggies and fruit into the green baggies. After a few days, she unpacked her blueberries and strawberries and was delighted to see there was no bruising or mold. Success!

She placed them in a bowl for a nice and healthy snack, grabbed a fork, took a bite, and... nearly hurled. Despite their perfect, non-puckered skin, the fruit was rotten. She told me later how extra grossed out she was to have bitten into rancid berries. Sadly, she has vowed to steer clear of the "As Seen On TV" seals thus forward.

Okay, no, not really. Jos will try something she sees from the ol' flatscreen in a second. I just felt like being dramatic. But really, those bags didn't work for her.

It's not being dramatic in pointing out that, like produce, one day, our bodies will break down and decay, too. Hmmm.... okay, that might not be dramatic, but it certainly is macabre. Sorry for that.

But to me, that is central to the meaning of Ash Wednesday and Lent. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It's natural law. It's entropy (or, um, maybe not... I admit now that I can't actually recall the "Second Law" since I haven't picked up a Physics books since Bill Clinton was in office).

So during this time, of prayer and fasting (no Facebook!), I will meditate on those ashes- the mortal. And look forward to Good Friday and the Cross, and to Easter Sunday and the Resurrection- the immortal.

Are you observing Lent? Why or why not? If yes, how?


Su said...

Oooh, those are such good thoughts. Thanks for sharing!! Now I have something else to ponder.

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