Ash Wednesday Musings

Atlanta's Ferris Wheel set against a blue sky

The Ferris Wheel in Atlanta

Ash Wednesday in Atlanta

"Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return." 

That's what the Catholic priest says when he traces ashes in the shape of a cross on your forehead during the Ash Wednesday ceremony or mass.

I love that. It reminds me that at the end of the day, we're all destined to be worm food or ashes in the dirt of the earth. 

I love that Lent falls in the deepest part of winter and ends in the rebirth of spring with resurrection. 

I try to dig deeper during Lent with meditation, prayer, and fasting. Meditating on my death and return to dust helps give me perspective about this life. 

We're all destined for the same ending, whether we're rich, poor, black, white, happy, sad, or whatever other adjective you like.

What are you giving up? Are you giving up anything?

A priest friend of mine once told me that instead of focusing on giving things up and plucking out our worst character traits, try crowding out those traits with virtue instead. 

Sounds like a good idea.

Instead of focusing on all my worst characteristics, which is, let's face it, just depressing, I focus on doing things better instead and looking outward to see how I can help others. 

And that dust thing...reminds me of Atlanta.

The construction going on in Atlanta and only a few blocks from my home is astonishing. Atlanta likes to let old buildings go to dust, tear them down, and then build new. 

As I mentioned in a recent social media post, my friend Lauren quipped that the "crane" is now the official bird of Atlanta. You can see a crane in this shot of the Ferris Wheel along with all the new construction in the background. 

I had to get up close on that Ferris Wheel because there's a new building to the right that now makes it harder to get a clean shot of the Ferris Wheel from that angle. 

I'm no Luddite but the gentrification in this city is rapid and displacing a lot of people. 

My neighbor down the street has been in this neighborhood her whole life (she's in her 60s) and has only been able to stay because another neighbor paid her property taxes for her. The taxes have gone up astronomically over the last few years. 

The last couple of Lents have given me good reason to pause and think about all the crazy stuff going on in the world and to fully feel and live gratitude for all that I have - my family - including a precious new granddaughter - friends, and a little place to call my own.

And my photography - something I'm passionate about.  

This Lent, I'm praying hard for the people of Ukraine. The Hitler moniker gets thrown around too easily but Putin fits the bill. 

Well...this was one of those posts that veered all over the place.

I hope you have a good Lenten season, whether Lent is your thing or not:)

I'm re-thinking whether I want to end my posts and emails with "See you between the raindrops," anymore. I'll let you know...