Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ashes To Ashes, Time To Dust

"You are butt dust and to dust you shall return."

Luckily I don't have a problem with butt dust. But (there it is again!) for the first time in seven years I almost forgot yesterday was Ash Wednesday. That is because I am not working at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance as a chaplain right now.

For the past seven Ash Wednesdays I would play my cedar flute at a noon service in the chapel. Then another chaplain and I would go around and dispense ashes to any staff, families and patients who wanted them.

A patient told me, "I feel marked for death because I have cancer. But we are all marked aren't we? That why I like Ash Wednesday: other people receive the ashes and realize they are marked too."

She had a point. You know how people look at you when you have ashes on your forehead? It's very similar to the way they look at you when they find out you have cancer.

This is how having cancer improves your vision: you can see the ashes on everybody's forehead.

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