Hashtag ashtag, hashtag blessing

It’s 5:30 p.m. on Ash Wednesday, and it has been one of the busiest and most blessed days of the year so far.

Began this morning the way I begin every weekday morning: by dropping of my Lad at school. It’s normally a fight to get him to school at a reasonable hour, but this morning, he got out of bed in a good mood the very first time I called on him. He ate his breakfast, largely without complaint. Things ran so smoothly, that we even had to wait in the car a few minutes before the school doors opened. This was a miracle.

Went over to a pick up a friend at the edge of downtown – she’s here sort of temporarily from out of state and wound up (like me) accidentally becoming Lutheran. That’s beside the point. But she doesn’t drive, so I went over there and arrived a couple minutes early. Another miracle.

We headed over to Panera bread in the Cherry Street district, as is my wont of a Wednesday morning. Was expecting to meet a prospective new participant at church, but she wasn’t there. That’s cool. I did meet one other person I had been expecting, but also encountered a homeless couple I know. We had had a big falling out a few weeks ago. Since then, every time I’ve seen them, they’ve been clean & sober, articulate, funny even. We all had coffee together and one of our church members said, “This has changed my whole perspective on homeless people.” Another miracle.

Got to church with still no Ash Wednesday sermon prepared, and less than 2 hours to go – plus I needed to get a haircut. Dashed out the door while returning a call to the local synagogue, where one of the rabbis was asking us to partner with them on an English as a Second Language program in our neighborhood. Miracle? Maybe so. A blessing at least.

Got back to the office. Whipped off a sermon. Held a service, which had more people than expected in attendance. It was beautiful and the sermon didn’t seem to have offended anybody. Total freaking miracle! 🙂

After the sermon, went back over to Cherry Street and imposed ashes on one of the waitresses at Panera, the guy who owns the European market, a couple of homeless people on the street, three people in the bar at Kilkenny’s, a shop owner at a quirky furniture store, and got back to the office by 2:15 p.m. Probably not miraculous, but again, a blessing.

I’m sitting now, just waiting for the last Ash Wednesday service of the day. I’m tired but energized at the same time. Miracle? Nah. But a beautiful paradox, and a blessing beyond belief.

A good start to Lent, I’d say. May yours be blessed, as well.

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