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...