May 18, 2022
“Because God knows how we’re made, God remembers we’re just dust.” Psalm 103:14
Ashes are messy, just like life and death can be. Taking care of loved ones’ ashes has been harder than I imagined. Carol wanted her ashes spread near Columbiana, OH with her deceased husband Michael’s ashes, who died 5 years ago. With the help of Carol’s pastor, I found a lovely state park where we could spread the ashes.
It was a beautiful morning; the park was practically empty. Thirteen of us walked along the path near the creek and then into the denser woods to the right. After saying a few words and a prayer, Michael’s sister took his ashes, and I took Carol’s. We opened the holes on the bottom of the tubes, and the smaller air vents on the top and began walking next to each other, spreading the ashes between us. We got most of the ashes on the ground, and some on our legs and hands. Our shoes, wet from the dew, got a coating of ash and blades of grass. As we walked these final steps with our siblings, we talked about them, and cried. Nothing mattered at that moment but love.
We are a people who avoid death and any reminders of our finitude. Dust lands wherever it will, a reminder that we don’t have nearly as much control of our lives as we might wish. Only God knows where all the dust that gathers on our furniture with such regularity has been.
God knows how we are made. God remembers that we’re just dust. Perhaps some of the ash dust is still on my shoes, a reminder that Carol and Michael are on their journey from this world carried by the Spirit who made them and loves them. All of us will make a similar journey someday. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.
God knows, God remembers.