Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ash Wednesday--Standing in Line

(Last year I wrote this poem about my experience on Ash Wednesday--and included it on my blog. It says what I want to say this Ash Wednesday.)

I stand in a long and winding line.
In some ways I’ve been standing here
  all my life
  waiting, waiting my turn.
I remember my terror waiting in line
  to get that shot in school.
I remember waiting in line with all the
  other scouts hoping to be picked to play.
I remember that line when, in cap
  and gown, I reached out for my diploma.
There have been so many lines—waiting to
  get baptized, to get my driver’s license,
  to get married—to wait with all
   the other men for the Doctor to come
   and say: “It’s a girl...”
All my life, it seems I have been waiting
   in some line.
Sometimes scared, sometimes bored—
  sometimes excited.

And today I stand waiting in yet another line.
Waiting for what?
 I do not rightly know.
To have someone mark my forehead
  with a smudge.
To hear those painful words: “Dust thou art
  and to dust you shall return.”
To remember moments ago we penitents prayed
  together: “Have mercy upon me O God...”
To move away marked by a smudged cross—
That wherever I go and whatever I do—
 I will remember that I will be
   or carried
   or loved
   or just forgiven.
And so, I stand in this long line waiting.


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