Ash Wednesday. Joey’s off on his bus. It’s just another day to him, and that’s one of those weird things for which Melissa and I sometimes give thanks. So many things that Joey doesn’t get and therefore doesn’t need to fix, stress over, grow into, etc.
He is, in so many ways, a child of grace. His life won’t line up with the moral or cultural or family expectations – some of which are helpful and some of which are hurtful – under which most of us labor. He just is, and he’s loved and cared for by lots of folks who can accept that.
The funny thing about Ash Wednesday is that we are all meant to see ourselves as Joeys, people under the care of a loving God who sacrifices to complete all that we are not able to understand or pull off. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” isn’t gloomy if we get the point – it’s a radical equalizer. Our list of achievements or lack of them are not relevant. The love of God, who can take dust and produce glory, is everything, the beginning and the end of the story.
That should be good news to care givers. We are entrusted with kids who, in the world’s eyes, “don’t measure up” and therefore reflect upon us as somehow flawed, ineffective, needy people. The reality is that all people are flawed, ineffective and needy, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
We are entrusted with kids who, despite our best intentions and work, will be stuck, or fall back, or otherwise fail to reflect “results” anywhere commensurate with our efforts. But as we explained in one of our first posts (and reflect always in the picture at the top of the blog) we all see the weeds and brown patches in our own yards, while fixating on the neighbor’s “perfect” lawn over the fence. But God sees all the dust, out in the open or swept under the rug, that marks every life that’s ever been or ever will be.
Well, except one life, and that one is the Good News to whom we turn on this Ash Wednesday, and every day,
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (I Corinthians 15:49)
We pray for all care givers and all in our care today, that Jesus, the man of heaven, will sweep aside a bit of our dust and give us glimpses of who we are as his beloved brothers and sisters.