Today is Ash Wednesday.
I love this day.
I love it in a I really want to unearth every possible spiritual blessing from this significant day kind of way.
Which means I love it, but I don’t necessarily rejoice in it.
For me, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a season that will end with all kinds of growth and bursting and spring-ing: plants from the ground, songs from my heart, life from the grave.
Lent reminds me to look forward to Easter. And to spring, which comes early here in the deep south, as the unseasonal but not unheard of 70 degree temperatures (and mosquitoes) reminded us this week.
I noticed today the beginnings of bulbs sprouting in my mother’s flower beds, small green leaves poking up from the mulch in spots familiar to me. I helped to plant those bulbs. know what’s hiding under there. a promise of something to come.
Spring is contagious. A nature dance, and the whole earth yelling at me to join in. Inspiration flows more freely when new life is popping out everywhere.
But on Ash Wednesday, it is still winter.
The promise is coming. Hope is peeking from the corners of the earth, but today’s returning chill makes it feel like the deadness of winter still prevails. It’s easier to focus on the sadness in the world in the winter. and on the darkness of my heart. Which is why I love that Ash Wednesday falls during the winter. Because it is a day to mourn the darkness of my soul, to confess it all, to dig out the dirt.
Wandering into the shadows and revealing the cobwebs.
Like cleaning the leaves out of the flower bed, there is a purpose. It is painful. It is depressing. It is messy, but the hope is that the clearing away of the gunk will make space for something new and wonderful to bloom.