I have never participated in Ash Wednesday. I grew up in a conservative circle, the rhythms of the liturgical year far from my reality. Actually, I did not know what Lent was until a class in college. Easter was a big deal, and eggs were suspect. We did make an egg tree where we hung detailed hand decorated eggs which depicted the resurrection story.
Yesterday at the Mystic Activists I was marked by ashes. It was a profound experience actually, as my head was cupped and the blessing given: “may the peace of Christ be with you”. Ritual for some perhaps, but for me in it’s newness , the words hung with power in the air.
All day long I felt the ashes against my skin. I watched people’s eyes meet my eyes and then travel upward. Some spoke, others were strangely silent. Perhaps, like I can be in some situations, they were triggered. Others had many words, born of their own experience. I heard stories from moms and grandmas at dance of growing up and going to church before school. The person checking me out at the grocery store told me about their growing up church experience and how they are trying to make sense of faith now. For one day, at least, it was easy to enter these conversation.
I have been sitting with the significance of being marked. It makes me wonder, what has marked me in my journey? Words and images come to mind; stories of beauty and pain. I had the opportunity to be in the Northwest this weekend. That is a place saturated with sensory memories for me. Things that have marked me…
I Wonder, what is your experience of being marked?