I'm Not Here
Reflection Delivered at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church as part of a joint Ash Wednesday service
March 2, 2022 • Ash Wednesday
I’m not here tonight. Not fully anyway.
My head is in the future. I’m drafting emails that I need to send. Wondering if that story I heard will work for this week’s sermon. Dreaming about the vacation that still seems too far away. My head’s in the past, too — thinking about the mistakes I’ve made. The memories I cling to. The questions about how I got here (or not here as the case may be).
My hands are juggling all of the balls in the air. Getting the kids where they need to go and making sure they get there on time. Feeding them. Oh, and I need to check on the neighbor. My mom called. Did I ever respond to her text? When are my taxes due? Do we mask here or not? I don’t know if I can juggle one more.
My feet are walking away — moving in the complete opposite direction. Because sometimes this job feels too hard. Sometimes the world feels too heavy. Sometimes the struggle feels too real. And so while my body is moving one way, my heels are digging in and trying to force an about-face.
And my heart — oh, my heart — when it’s not trying to fend off cynicism, my heart is breaking with our siblings in Ukraine as my eyes can’t believe what they’re seeing, and they weep for the children who are living a terror I’ve never known. My stomach turns at the violence. My knees fall to the floor in prayer.
So I’m not here tonight. Not fully anyway.
I was talking with a friend earlier today who said, “I just feel so all over the place.” I’m right there with her — there in all of the places. And I wonder if you know something about that, too. Scattered. Disjointed. Disembodied even.
On this Ash Wednesday, we are not only reminded of our mortality — of the (somehow) good news that our lives are fragile and fleeting — but we also remember that all of it belongs to God. All of it. Our whole selves. Our whole lives. And that’s good news. Because it means that even though it may seem that we begin this journey of Lent in all different kinds of places — in body, mind, and spirit — we trust that, by grace, the God of resurrection will put us back together and make us and our world whole.