This morning I watched as the sun rose and the sky turned from black, to purple to the brightest pink. It did not last. I could not slow it down. I wanted to wake the kids to come sit with me but I knew that I would miss it too if I left my window seat.
Ashes to ashes. From dust you come and dust you will be.
Today I spoke with a colleague and he said to me, “most of my life I can look around and realize I am the most powerful person in the room. And then 12 hours later, I feel like I have no power at all, that someone else is making all the decisions for me”
So say we all. It matters not what sort of authority you wield…you are the subject of this story and you cannot slow the earth spinning round the sun. You cannot control that human beside you. You cannot delay your aging or avoid your impending death. You do not get to write the ending.
I step into Lent and I think about how I can’t stop this sinful heart either, how much I wish to be better than I am. I can’t hold my tongue. Cannot calm the tempest of my heart. There are so many things I covet. I wish my compassion didn’t run low on so many days…
Some people consider this depressing. The atheist Bertrand Russell once wrote, “When you hear people in church debasing themselves, and saying they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings.” I think his pride and arrogance is a bigger risk. I work in some of the most obscenely power soaked environments on the planet with some great thinkers. I have found it to be the epicenter of delusions of grandeur. I have seen more men crushed there then anywhere else on earth. Being your own God will choke you on your pride.
So what then? How do we spend these few moments from ash to ash? I think the metaphors are all there.
BURN bright with the passions and promises you have been given.
SHINE like a lamp on a hill, and be a beacon and a restorer to the city that you have been called.
HEAT the spaces around you with the love you have already been given.
These are our short and only days. How will you burn?