Today is Ash Wednesday and we started out our day with ashes for the whole family. Due to scheduling (unavoidable demands and work) we weren't able to actually attend a service, so a clergy colleague of mine swung by and did the honors...
"remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return".
And, as I reflect on Ash Wednesday and the act of incorporating our child into this ritual, I find myself thinking about something I said to him at dinner on Tuesday. In his frantic reaching and whining for the ketchup bottle he failed to notice that he already had some ketchup on his plate.
And, in that moment of frustration I sternly said to him
"look at what you have, not what you don't have!"
He quieted at my tone and as the words left my mouth I realized that part of teaching him about a theology of abundance, about holding things loosely, giving generously and living gently is teaching him to appreciate and value what he is. So, whether it's the WHOLE jar of peanut butter or a small swirl of ketchup, I will be repeating these words as a refrain, "look at what you have, not what you don't have!"
And, perhaps that's my takeaway for Ash Wednesday this year--giving thanks for what we have and the gift that is rather than worrying about what isn't.
So, this Lent I will be working on looking at what I have, letting go of what I don't have and remembering that this is all temporary anyway.