I Am Both

It’s Ash Wednesday.

Tonight our priest will press her thumb into ashes and impose the truth of our mortality on my forehead. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” Pastor Ruth will say.

When I think about it, fear kicks in and desperation to make the most of the years I have left.

I watch these feelings pull me away and sense that something’s not right. God is loving and compassionate. This imposition of fear isn’t from God–or Ruth, for that matter.

On cue, I read Steve Garnaas-Holmes’ poem “Dust and breath.” He didn’t introduce it with Genesis 3:19, where “dust to dust” comes from but a verse from the chapter before it.   

God formed a human from the dust of the ground,
and breathed into their nostrils the breath of life,
and they became a living being.–Genesis 2:7

The poem begins:

You are dust and breath,
matter and energy,
earth and Spirit.

I am both. I am both mortal and immortal, weak and strong, darkness and light, sinner and saint.

That’s what I carry on the road to Jerusalem. I’ve carried these pairs, one in each hand, for so long, and for so long, I’ve wanted to let go of the one I didn’t like so I could take Jesus’ hand.

But in this poem says dust and breath need each other, and God has wedded them in a dance of love.

What if I held all of who I am in one hand?

That’s what Jesus is doing when he holds the other.

Dust and breath

You are dust and breath,
matter and energy,
earth and Spirit.

Neither alone:
their need for each other,
their love of each other.

God is the love, the dance,
both wedded.

That’s what makes us human.
Return to the bothness.

God, to be true to our dust,
true to our breath,

your breath, your dust,
your bothness, your usness.

Give our love flesh,
our dust breath,
our death life.

Give our us you,
so we may give you
our us.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

I’m going vegan for Lent. The Radical Compassion Challenge and preparing to co-facilitate The Way of Compassion led me to this decision. I want to care for the earth and for future generations, and eating a plant-based diet is the single most effective thing I can do for them.  Here are some facts about how what we eat impacts the earth.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Image of cross on forehead from Pixabay. CCO.
Photo of two children walking by Pikrepo. Royalty-free.
Dust and breath by Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light. Used with permission.
Photo of produce from Pixaby. CCO
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Lent, Poetry, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I Am Both

  1. audreyhoehn says:

    Beautiful …. thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Esther Hizsa says:

    Thanks, Audrey. 🙂


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