Today I will wear ashes not on my forehead, but I will be wearing them on my heart. I wasn’t raised in the tradition of ashes, in fact I can’t remember ever seeing someone wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday. My own denomination didn’t do that, but sometimes I wish they had. This morning though, I realized something about myself when I was meditating on everything this season means. I was thinking of my habits. How much do they control me, my little rituals?
I am one of those people who love the little things. By the time I get up, my coffee is done. I would never buy one without an auto-setup. That first cup is eagerly anticipated, coveted. It gets me up in the morning…..And my books, my piles of books. I have them organized, the ones I am reading now in a stack by the bed, and the ones next on the list on another pile in my bookshelf. I am riddled with habits, rituals.
When did they start controlling me? How easily could I let them go? Lent starts all these questions for many people. What should I give up? I tend to want to control that too. I am going about it all wrong just in the question itself. “What should I give up?” As if it is my decision!…..I am worse off than I thought.
I realized it is an open heart He wants. A pliable, yielding heart……one He can work with.
Return to the Lord, your God,for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
It saddens me that we don’t see people wearing ashes anymore. It seems we are too cool for that. I hear the lament all the time, “Nothing is sacred anymore.” It does seem to be true. We used to close businesses on Sundays. Then we stopped selling alcohol on Sundays. Then it was changed to selling it after noon. When nothing is sacred anymore, everyone loses.
I admire Chick-fil-a for sticking to their guns and remaining closed. I am glad they are so successful. They understand that when you do things God’s way, you will be blessed. And even if you are not, you did what you knew to be right.
Today I will be wearing ashes on my heart, the ones God put there. I will try my best to keep it open and soft…..and to release all those little things I hold so dear.