Today is the day when we Christians hear those somber words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Those words always hit me hard. In the hours before I will be using all of my energies to meet deadlines, be places prepared, make sure there are groceries in the refrigerator and that I’ve pick up the kids who need transportation, etc. But for a moment each Ash Wednesday, someone reminds me that this is all going to end. I don’t know when but it’s going to.
As a lifelong asthmatic with a host of medical issues and as a caregiver to my mother-in-law as she was dying, I’ve thought more than most about this. Here’s what I want before I return to dust: I want to have lived as fully and faithfully as I can, loved as much as I can and served as many as I can. That’s it. The bank account, the house, the career, the dress size. To me it’s just dust.