Ashes, Ashes…

We all know the kid’s rhyme:

Ring around the rosy 
Pockets full of posies
 Ashes, ashes 
We all fall down.
Well, if you didn’t know it before, there you go – you know it now.  
I had posted a picture of Man Cub’s and my Ash Wednesday ashes to Facebook tonight, with what I thought was a witty caption.  The caption began with, “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!”  I thought it was a great caption, all on its own – but, just in case someone didn’t get the joke, or find it funny, I followed up with a more acceptable ending of the caption that encapsulated the meaning of the ashes on the forehead.
I did this, while waiting for my turn to leave my parking spot.  I then had an extra 15 minutes to sit in my parking spot, since the prayer service I attended was so packed it took about 20 minutes for the parking lot to clear out.  As I sat in my parking spot, chuckling at my little “ashes, ashes, we all fall down,” inside joke, I was struck by how completely “right” that phrase is…
We, collectively, as a human race, are ashes – we come from dust, and to dust we will return, whether we are buried or cremated.  It’s a simple fact that our bodies will wind up as dust.  
And, we fall down.  Every single one of us “fall down.”  Sometimes we land with a hard thump, other times our falls are cushioned.  But, we all fall.  We all fail, and we all make mistakes.  
“To err is human…”  
We shouldn’t beat ourselves up for our falls, our failures, or our mistakes.  
Instead, we should learn from them.  We should learn from the mistakes, and we should learn to reach out to others for strength and for a little bit of help up from our falls.  
The saints were not perfect beings on earth, something I have a tendency to forget.  Many of them had a humility I most certainly lack, but they weren’t perfect.  They looked to, and leaned on God and His infinite love and guidance, and they trusted His plan above their own.  They all fell repeatedly throughout their lives, and ultimately they also got back up.  
So, as we begin this Lenten season and journey, keep in mind that we are all being called to a closer relationship to God.  
We will all fall down – maybe it will be by not succeeding in “doing what you gave up.”  Maybe we will fall by not entirely succeeding in completing “adding something new,” or contributing to the alms-giving in which we are called to participate.  Maybe we will fall by not adding more prayer to what we consider an already hectic schedule.   
But, as long as you get back up, dust yourself off, and try again, calling upon God to help you with your “fall,” then you will have succeeded in making Lent a success…  bringing you one step closer to a deep, meaningful relationship with God.
At least, that’s my take on the “reason for the season” during Lent!  

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