"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ashes to Ashes

What began as just a normal invitation to tea last week turned into a most spiritual moment for me Friday. It wasn't the first time I had been asked to such an engagement and it certainly wasn't the first time I had been in my friend's lovely home. Nor was it the first time we had talked about the beautiful blue and white tea canister sitting on her mantel -- and her father's remains that were encased within it. What was different this time is that she actually opened the container and pulled them out after making sure none of her 3 guests found it morbid.

There he was, at least 1/5 of him, as the other siblings each had a share, completely comprised in a plastic zip-lock bag no larger than my hand. I stood there just looking at the silvery gray ash before asking if I might hold it. When my friend said, "Of course," I reverently took it in both hands and studied the metallic "dust." It was much more dense than one would have thought for ashes, and much heavier than one would have suspected, even though it only weighed 1.8 lbs. (Yes, we actually weighed it later.)

But somehow I knew that I was standing on sacred ground, and no words seemed appropriate. It was indeed a moment to be embraced.

"Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust." I've heard them all my life and have even participated in the imposition of ashes to my forehead on Ash Wednesdays for more than a decade now. But not until that moment did I catch the magnitude of those words. From surely we come and to surely we will go. And in the meantime, God chooses to give us life -- His life, that we might know Him, so that when those ashes return to their former state, our spirits live on forever. With Him.

Who but God could think up such a plan?

Just an ordinary moment...

1 comment:

Charlene Rackley said...

Nancy, thanks for sharing this ordinary moment. It was a special moment that you realized what an awesome God we have.
Charlene Rackley