Lent begins this week, with Ash Wednesday, with the reminder that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. This is a season where our particular human dustiness is very apparent to us, as we lean into a time of fasting, experiencing our weakness and fragility—and our need—firsthand. But dust and ash are not just signs of death and frailty; they are also part of the earth’s cycles in ways that we might not even realize – in ways that bring beauty and new life in the wake of the death they evidence. Clouds need dust particles to form rain—there is a dust particle at the center of every raindrop! Sunsets are made more beautiful by the dust in the sky, scattering and absorbing light frequencies so that we get the glorious colors emerging from the sun’s evening rays. And ash? It is a byproduct of burning, a sign of the death of a tree, a particular piece of wood. But even after it has done its job, given its warmth by allowing itself to be consumed by fire, the ash that is left over is not just a mess to be dealt with. It can be deeply nourishing to the soil, can decrease acidity for plants that need it, and can even keep away pests that might bother the new life growing there. All living things have a cycle they go through. And so do the things that grow in *us*. They begin as seed, new life emerges, grows, fruits…and then—even the things that have been deeply good parts of our souls’ lives—they fall, die, turn to compost for what is “next”, the new life that is to come. What are you aware of, in your own life and soul, that has turned to ash in recent years? How might the beginning of this season of Lent make space for you to be-with those ashes in a different way? What invitations might there be to let them become part of the compost that will nourish the growth and new life that is still to come?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2022-02-28 14:49:24 UTC