By the sweat of your face You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.
I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
~T.S. Eliot in “Burial of the Dead” from “The Wasteland”
This shadowland we live in is not all there is nor will ever be.We are tangible — dust arising from the ground and settling back into it when the soil reclaims us.
We do not want to think of ourselves as dust. There is too much of us living right now; we cast shadows before and behind us depending on the time of day and time of life. We are substance: our shadows are only ephemeral reflections of our presence on earth.
Yet the dust we were and the dust we become is a fearsome thing.Nothing but dust…until the Creator lifts us up in the palm of His hand, and blows on us. Now we breathe and pulse and weep and bleed.
We become something other than mere shadow. There need be no fear moving beyond shadow to the light that created it.
Morning, as always, sets fire to our doubt.
We become His as He breaths into us, awed, to the last grain of fearful dust with which we are made. We become so much more.
So much more.
During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn