Cosmic Dust

Ash Wednesday March 9 2011

 

“Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.”

Tonight we got a smudge of black

Upon our foreheads – symbolic “dust.” 

I felt drawn back to childhood –

And felt again my  school-aged self –

Impressionable red-headed child  

Thinking about dying, about becoming dust—

Feeling chilled and fearful,

My colored life turned suddenly to gray, that ashen color.

What about living?  About joy? 

About my hopeful heart that wished so hard for light and love? 

“Remember, Man, that thou art Dust!” – Only dust, no more.

But tonight, an old woman — graying crone —

I patted on the head that little inner child;

I hugged her close, and whispered in her ear

That the words she’d found so fearful

Meant something other than they seemed –

That  they were words of joy reminding how

We’re one  with earth, the universe, and every creature.

God’s dust is shared by all of us,

Reflecting motes of splendor outward –

Infinitely  glorious mantle of  divinity.

Reflection

In recent weeks, while studying forgiveness, I’ve alternated between gray repentance and atonement on the one hand, and  joyful surrender on the other.  I’ve learned to acknowledge more than I ever have before the ways in which my human traits – my attachment to ego, to self – have led me thoughtlessly to cause pain to others.  I haven’t intended this pain.  I’ve barely been conscious of it.  I’ve been much more aware of my alibis – the persons, actions or circumstances that have tricked me into believing that I had to protect myself.  At the same time, I’ve been learning, for the first time, the importance of truly trusting that I am not really ego but a part of universal spirit.  I’ve gotten fleeting glimpses of the universal nature of spirit and love – the immutable Truth that never varies, that can never vary.  If this is so, my fear for my safety is actually a bad dream, from which I can awaken into light and joy. 

I do need to remember that my ego – seemingly so real – is fleeting;  it’s as meaningless as dust.  I also need to come fully into the real picture –increasing my awareness that the shared cosmic soul-stuff truly is my spirit’s nature, that I truly am one with infinite light and happiness.  I can imagine this shared soul as golden light particles suffusing all creation – resembling the particles of dust that appear in a sunbeam.  It’s such a different way of looking at the reality behind the dream of day to day life than the vision I had as a child experiencing Ash Wednesday and the church’s reminder of what’s real.  It’s such a different view of “dust.”

About Rev. Rosemary Hyde, Ph.D.

I am a grandmother, a classical homeopath, a mystical poet, and an interfaith minister. I also have a large, enduring place in my heart for Paris. I first spent time in Paris in 1961, as a Fulbright scholar. I remained in France for three years, living also in Toulouse and in Nancy. I have revisited France and Paris multiple times since then, and have come to know central Paris reasonably well. I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where there were many Franco-Americans, and their language fascinated me. I was fortunate in 6th grade, when my family moved, to find myself in a Catholic French speaking girls' school, where I had the wonderful fortune of becoming bilingual. It still feeds my soul deeply, to visit Paris, speak French, and reconnect with the little French girl in me. I am serving presently as co-minister at Unity Center of Peace in Chapel Hill, NC. I give talks one or two Sundays a month -- please go to the website, www.unitychapelhill.org, and sign up for the weekly e-news to learn what's going on -- special events, seasonal interfaith ceremonies, and Sunday themes and talks. My vision for the Unity Chapel Hill ministry and for myself is to become a loving, uniting presence in the lives of all those who cross paths with us. That's all there is, really -- loving presence. And so it is. Amen. My goal as a minister is to add richness to life for those who resonate to more than one religious tradition or to none -- those with mixed religions as well as the unchurched, untempled, and unmosqued. All of us, whatever our cultural allegiances, hunger for and need support in finding the transcendent joy that's ours to find in this earthly life. All of us need and want to celebrate beautifully the great and small milemarker moments. All of us crave the beauty of prayer as an expression of our participation in universal love. All of us wish to learn a greater vision, to see our lives opening to the Divine. All of us desire deeply to find serenity and peace that lasts no matter what happens today and tomorrow. This is the meaning of Transcendessence. We find the essence of spirit and transcend the narrow constraints of our bodies and egos. Join us today by subscribing, so you won't miss a single poem, message, prayer, or meditation.
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