18 February 2010

glorious meaning, spread.

i was so inspired by a post by my good friend, mary, that instead of penning a long comment on her blog, i decided to write it here.
ash wednesday came and went without much pomp for me. i didn't grow up catholic. but my mom did. and we always observed lent when we were little. we'd give up things like sweets, or junk food, or pop. it was really hard. sometimes, when lent came before valentine's day, we'd declare feb. 14 a free day. and eat all the chocolate and candies. but feb. 15 brought lent back.
in college, ben and i once went to a gorgeous catholic church on ash wednesday. my favorite art prof was in the choir there. ashes were put on our foreheads. it was very important moment. to be marked.
but the ashes washed away. and it's been five years since. i wished i'd have gone to ash wednesday service yesterday. but i didn't. i'm not sure why. since i wanted to. so much. and thought about it. so much. in the days leading up to the small print on my office calendar.
one time in college, in a xian theology class, we were supposed to turn to our neighbor and ask: what was the most memorable part of your faith journey? was it someone from church (a relationship, a mentor perhaps) that mattered more? or was it a ritual, a rite?
i think i was the only in class for ritual.
my baptism and one communion stick heavy and sweet in my mind.
i was only 9 when i was baptized. when i chose to be. asked to be.
the close communion was in high school. i will always do this in remembrance of you.
it's interesting, what can be attached to ritual and what ritual can push away. for some, repetitive acts carry nothing. this is not necessarily bad. but for me, rituals carry glorious meaning, spread. something good to hold on to when times are tough. reminders of faith bloomed, shown and—if growing tired—clung to.
in that beautiful church, glowing with stained glass and fumbling over unfamiliar traditions, ashes on forehead are something good. to hold to.

1 comment:

The Yellow Door Paperie said...

I agree, the rhythm of tradition. The meaning of behind the things passed down-- there is something so comforting in that.

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