I am mountain, I am dust. Constellations made of us. There’s mystery in the dirt. Momentary carbon stories from the ashes filled with the holy ghost. Life is here now. Breathe it all in. Let it all go.
(Lyrics from I Am Mountain by Gungor)
A couple of weeks ago I participated in an Ash Wednesday service to begin the season of Lent. For me, the ashes poignantly remind me of the condition of my humanity. I am fragile, flawed, material, perishable—dust-bound. The reality is I am limited and daily humbled by my humanness. And so are you. Beneath the beautiful veneer is great vulnerability and luminosity. We are each trying our best to make our way, collecting souvenirs and scars along the way.
There is an ancient Serbian proverb in my book, The Pocket Cathedral that I love: “Be humble, for you are made of earth. Be noble, for you are made of stars.” I have written enough eulogies to give over the last ten years to know with certainty that there is an end to this earthly adventure. Dust we come and dust we return, but that is only half the picture. We are also light and love and spirit. We have an impressive resume before we even take our first breath: nobly-fashioned, creative, compassionate and remarkably resilient. No wonder God cannot, will not, fall out of love with us. Quickly (as time is at a gallop) we must make peace with our humanness (flaws, fears, doubts, brokenness, even our death) for the twinkle to shine. We are not our circumstances. We are not even our mind, body, biography and death. We are a precious soul with infinite possibilities. A day will come when God will tap us on the shoulder and speak over us, “You are so much more than dust, you are of the stars.” The hope is that we will smile because somewhere on the journey we discovered the beautiful truth.
Draw an invisible cross on your forehead, touch your beating heart, or take a humble knee in the green earth. Swear an oath that you are going to uncover the divine shining beneath the dust of you.
Live in Hope,