Spreading the Ashes

You are dust, and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19

I never took a seminary class dealing with Spreading the Ashes.  And it shows.

Once – in the process of spreading Mrs. G in a church rose garden – a strong wind blew my way and Mrs. G landed in my nostrils, my mouth, and even in my ears.  I didn’t know Mrs. G in this life but we became one.  She is still in the creases of my robe.

In another situation, the ashes blew all over the family and not in a comforting way.

If you’ve ever been in possession of a loved one’s ashes, the decision about What To Do with Them can be an easy decision to postpone.  I have many friends with Mom, Dad, and the family dog in an urn in the bedroom closet beside the snow boots.

Spreading ashes so that they blow out with the wind feels unsettling.  We can’t control where they land.  Someone might sweep them away or rake them up.

It’s the ultimate in letting go.

I visit my parents’ graves about once a year in North Carolina.  I don’t believe they are really “there” but it’s nice to have a reference point to make a pilgrimage when necessary.  When ashes are spread, the pilgrimage is different.  It’s a moment looking at the ocean or into the garden and it seems more ethereal.

Ethereality is something I’m working on these days.  I am blessed to experience it on this journey to holy places in Italy and Germany.

*Please refrain from making comments naming names today. Thanks.

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