Oh, the Ash (Wednesday)
Earlier this week I stumbled into the realization that one year ago – Ash Wednesday – I made a commitment to practice something for forty days and I’ve been doing it for three hundred and fifty six. And I am a different person this Ash Wednesday than I was last year.
Last year at this time I found myself staring down eight more weeks of work before the official lay off from my job, I had been struggling pretty severely with the basics of living for at least five months, and generally just wanted to run away and disappear.
Sitting at my desk in the already mostly empty office I simply said to myself on Ash Wednesday 2012, “be intentional.” This has changed everything.
Intentional: slowing down, thinking, acknowledging, then acting…and apparently transforming.
If I were to hang a piece of paper along the wall and begin writing milestones of the last year as a timeline, I’d probably be adding things for a few days. And then more things for a few more days. I’ve started so many things and actually finished a few of them, too. I’m exhausted.
Hormones (beginning/modifying). Relationships (beginning/modifying/ending). Therapy (beginning). Church (re-beginning). Death. Celebrations. Jobs (ending/beginning/modifying). Solitude (pursuing). Communication. Writing. An animal (adding). People living in my house (adding). Reading.
Each of these things have a narrative. All of them have had an effect on other people in my life. This has taken energy, patience, anger, tears, laughter, listening, giving, travel, sleep, silence, caused fractures in my heart and healing at the same time. They have taken me to places I never expected to go, some places I didn’t want to go, all of them places I’m glad I went.
As I sit here tonight, smelling the ashes on my forehead, I know I’m a better version of me today because of two words and a choice to act on them just under a year ago. You never know what the ramifications of words to yourself will lead to – if you can be true to you.
I plan to keep going.