Thursday, March 10, 2011
my two hands
A man invited me to stick my hands into the pile of ashes before me. Run my fingers through the dust and charred remnants. Rub my hands together, feeling the grit and grime.
And then I sat to ponder the connection between the ashes that covered my two hands and the sins that covered my life. This is what I looked like through the lens of holiness. Through the eyes of a perfect guide. Dirty. Discolored. Disfigured.
Here’s what came to mind as I contemplated the condition of my hands. One: this was not the way my hands were supposed to look. Underneath these ashes and burnt scraps was the real me. Hidden from the light, from the truth. Second: I did not want to come into contact with anything white or pure or clean, because any contact would instantly blemish its beauty. Third: wanting the ashes to go away—no matter how much effort or pressure I applied—was not enough. No matter how much I rubbed my hands and fingers together, I could not clean myself. Could not.
And then I confessed my sins. Sins of gluttony, pride and neglect.
And I was cleaned. Purified. Refreshed.
Just as I was in the beginning.