“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Humans are interesting creatures. We don’t like to face our own mortality. It scares us. The uncertainty combined with the finality of death is terrifying. So we avoid facing our own mortality at all cost.
We pretend that we and our parents aren’t aging. We avoid doctor appointments if we think we will receive bad news. And we live life as if we’re invincible, as if tomorrow will forever be an option.
And then something happens that shoves our mortality into our faces. Kobe Bryant dies at the age of 41, and you realize that people your age in the prime of their lives do in fact die. Your friend tweets about having the stomach flu and is dead two days later. You’re convinced you have Megan Thee Stallion knees until you drop it like it’s hot and get stuck.
We are but dust, and one day we shall return to the earth; it shall be final.
Ash Wednesday is the spiritual reminder of just that – of our humanity, of our mortality. We are human. Our lives are temporary. Our time on this earth will end. It will be final.
So what do we do when we are faced with our own mortality? The spiritual answer is actually pretty simple. You repent. You become more dedicated in your spiritual practice. You acknowledge the infinite nature of God in comparison to your finite presence.
And that’s all great. But how should Ash Wednesday and the realization of our own mortality practically manifest in our relationship with self and others? The reminder of our mortality should be a reminder to care for our relationships, ourselves, and our business.
How can you improve your relationships with family and friends? Is there anyone who you need to ask to forgive you? Who do you need to spend more quality time with knowing that one day time will run out?
Are you caring for yourself? What can you do to take better care of yourself? Is it time to eat better? Get in the gym? Make a doctor’s appointment?
And are you doing the work that you’ve been called to do? What are you wasting time on? What do you need to stop putting off?
I have a friend who LOVES the phrase “dust of the earth face ass.” Whenever someone does something stupid or ridiculous, he says this as a reminder of just how basic they are. But in reality, we’re all just dust of the earth face asses. In the space of eternity, we are simply blips on the radar. It’s time to treat our time, our relationships, our lives, and our purposes as if it could all end tomorrow…because in reality, it all could.