Happy Wednesday Family!
I hope you’ve had a good week so far. If not, it just got better.
I knew what I wanted to write about tonight, then God leveled it up by connecting some dots I didn’t know existed – Ash Wednesday + Soulful Sunday.
Let me start with Sunday.
I did something I would have normally repelled me – I participated in a singing competition. To understand the gravitas of this statement, you would have to know me personally and only so much of that can be translated on this screen. In essence, I was shamed for singing when I was a child and it scarred me from singing in public. The anxiety grew visible through my shaky, sweaty hands to my unruly vibrato. Fast forward some years and I registered for vocal lessons as a means of healing this wound. Our first session she lifted me with encouragement and affirmation. “You can sang, Baby. You have a gift.” I didn’t believe her, but I really wanted to.
Every week, I went to class swaddled in insecurity and she unraveled them note-by-note. I embraced the opportunity for freedom to heal that space, then the pandemic occurred. Virtual vocal and music theory classes became part of my self-care regimen. I cried. I sang. I laughed. I learned.
Fast forward to this past Sunday when I stood in front of people physically and virtually and sang God Bless The Child by Billie Holiday. I’m tearing up as I’m typing this right now because it took healing to get here and those words embody that for me. The winner and I were separated by three-tenths of a point, but I left that stage on top of the world. I was proud of me and I could stand in the Sonshine unapologetically. I was grateful for the opportunity and support. Grateful for the warmth of confidence that only God can give. I made new connections and hugged those that have lasted for years. It was a beautiful moment of growth and I beamed all the way back to work. I had a mobile massage client. *lol*
So, let’s where today comes in.
A traditional phrase for ceremonies surrounding Ash Wednesday is “Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return.” When we reflect upon our mortality and surrender our humanity to our supernatural purpose, beauty happens. Springtime can happen. As the article mentions (click the link), the Christian period of “Lent comes from the Middle English word lente, which means springtime.” How befitting that we render down our lives in order for life to grow. Introspection, fasting, meditation, and prayer are forms of sacrifice for the springtime. Soulful Sunday is just one example of how God can exchange beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3) but we have to give him the crumbles first. Surrender is required. My tears of inadequacy watered the seeds of creativity in my heart. My vocal instructor’s divine mix of gentleness and discipline was the sunshine on my frosty soil.
The dust is where we’re from and it’s also where we grow.
As we prepare for 40 days of spiritual reflection, strength, and sacrifice, I encourage you to bring your ashes to the altar. God can do more with them than you can. When we leave this earth, let it be said that we lived. On purpose and fully engaged. Let it be said that we did not waste our tears and our seeds sprouted into their intended design. That we respected the process and walked the journey to completion. That we remembered we were beautiful in His sight.
Respect the ashes, Family. We all got some and they are all necessary.
Peace & Blessings to your week and I love y’all.