Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Remember You Are Dust

It's that awkward day of the year...

The day Christians show up in their places of worship to be marked with a smudge of a cross and reminded: "You are dust, and to the dust you shall return." The ashes on the forehead symbolize penance and contrition. It's the beginning of the season of Lent.

I have a 23-year old on my mind this Ash Wednesday evening.  An army specialist from Austin, Texas named Bobby Pagan.  Bobby was killed in action over the weekend in Afghanistan.  He was on foot patrol, when a suicide bomber drove up on a motorcycle and exploded an IED that killed him. 

Bobby Pagan is returning to dust.  Just like that.

In a flag-draped coffin.

Two weeks before he was scheduled to come home and be married.

So today, every time I've seen the smudgey reminder that I am dust, the penitent spirit in me has whispered, "Does your lifestyle require these wars?"

I have decided to give up complacency for Lent.

To seek peace and pursue it.

Before one more 23-year old becomes dust...


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