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Ash Wednesday Reflection: Dust to Dust Rachel Rebagay and Zoey Murzyn, TCU Students

This is a dialogue between Rachel and Zoey around what the dust of Ash Wednesday means to them. As you read it, consider what the dust of the Ashes mean in your life.
Rachel: As a little kid, the attic was always a place of wonders. This was the only room in the house that I didn’t really know. It was the room that only the adults could get to after climbing a magical ladder. It was the string that I strived to reach by jumping up high and stretching my hand in the air. It was where all of the Christmas magic was stored: the tree, the lights, the decorations. The attic was a place of adventure and discovery. But that’s not always the case.
Oftentimes, attics are the dreaded goal of spring cleaning- the task that no one wants. The attic is full of dust and cobwebs, floor boards that creak, and questionable items that make us a little anxious to leave as soon as possible. The lighting may be dim and the room may be void of the comforts of walls that hide insulation and supporting beams, but when you get past the fact that you might get a little dirty, the job becomes fascinating. As you clean, you unearth old photos and furniture, toys that were played with years ago, and a little bit of Christmas magic in boxes of decorations. The more you “clean,” the less it feels like a chore. Instead, you may find yourself in a different kind of mess- a beautiful mess of memories that bring light into the dark places.
Zoey : When I look up those rickety pull-down stairs to my attic, I can easily remember the chill the prospect of going up there I held when I was a child. It was a dark place, the single light bulb than hung above the landing casting more eerie shadows than illumination. It was dark; it was where the monsters were and I would race back down if there was something I had to retrieve from its depths. I hated going up there. When I would be dragged there periodically to clean and go through boxes, on the way to finding those treasures and reliving memories of mine or my family’s, I remember almost feeling suffocated by the dust. Even when we were done, downstairs I still felt that pervasive dust on my hands and clothes, and I’d clear my throat to keep from breathing the remnants anymore.
That dust and the darkness we hate confronting, that we’d rather just pretend is above our nice pretty, clean house, and can really wait until next year to go through, is why we are here in Lent. I find it easy for myself in examining my conscience or shared reflections to dwell relatively comfortably in the sins, questions, doubts, and struggles that are closer to the surface, that don’t have too significant of an implication on my life if they were to change. We are challenged today and during this Lenten season of purification, to reach back to those dark corners. Bring a flashlight. Seek guidance and new devotion. Be brave enough to be uncomfortable in the darkness and dustiness for the sake of renewed light and redeemed freshness.
Rachel: Throughout Lent, we are reminded of phrases like “ashes to ashes…dust to dust.” As we go about our own lives, we often store away pieces of our past or pieces of who we are. We strive to be better people- to be the person we are called to be, but as life’s business gets in the way, we let those goals slip away into storage- into dust. But there is life in under the dust. When we dust off those old photo albums, we rediscover the life of the past and are able to bring it up from the ashes. So this Lent, I invite you to return to those dusty places. Dig deep within yourself to the vulnerable place where all of the wires, insulation, and support beams are most visible. Revive the person you want to be.
Zoey: Shed light in those dark corners that have hidden themselves away. I’m sure countless parents have used this line: There is no mess too big that it cannot be cleaned! (I heard that one in regard to my room growing up!) But truly, if not our parents trying to convince us to clean, believe our God who promises that there is no sin grave enough, no imperfection or struggle serious enough, no darkness deep enough, and no dust thick enough that he cannot cleanse, redeem, and renew us in it. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers or principalities, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” [Rom. 8:38-39]. You need not be afraid of what you find in your attic.
Rachel: Clean the attic of your soul and start anew!


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