Ash Wednesday

Yesterday, I received my mother's will in the mail. There was nothing unexpected about it and I already knew most of what it contained. Yet there was something difficult about it, like reading some of the final pages of a book you're not ready to finish.

I glanced at the news online. The lead story was about the culmination of a manhunt for an ex-LA police officer; more death and destruction; "for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a period of penitence, reflection and discipline. Some friends give up chocolate for Lent, with a special dispensation for St. Valentine's Day. Others give up beer, with a special dispensation for St. Patrick's Day. Several of my co-workers are doing yoga every day for Lent.

I set out for work early today, surrounded by large piles of snow, hoping to find a parking place in the snow-hobbled city. In many ways, my Lenten discipline is just to get by.

In the afternoon, I attended the Health Leader's Fellowship Program. It is a discipline, a commitment to show up, to stretch and practice new skills. We are half way through the program and it seems like many of us a stretched almost to breaking, but as another member of the program commented, "We are here."

Yes, we are here, in the season of Lent, remembering lost love ones, stretching as part of one discipline or another. In forty days we will enter Holy Week, the week of the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox, a time of rebirth and thinking about resurrection, a time in which, God willing, we will say again, perhaps in a different tone, "We are here."

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