18 February 2015

"Alone: Ash Wednesday and Audre Lorde"

Ash Wednesday service cancelled due to inclement weather. I missed breaking the fast and marking my head with my new community of church goers. Then, I worked so long and left too late to get to the Audre Lorde 80th birthday party. I missed showing up in the familiar company of women strangers who look different in every picture. Missing the rare times I make up my mind to take courage and be in community leaves me being alone tonight.
Therefore, I shall ash myself.  Using Palm Sunday leaves singed to ash, I am grateful for the theology of the priesthood of all believers. As I cross my forehead I imagine forgiveness as I ease into this season of repentance. I imagine making penance without struggling with pride. I imagine making peace with dead seasons and people who I must allow to be dead to me for painful reasons. I imagine fasting indifference, like Pope Francis challenges; and fasting clutter like my friend Carla calls forth. I am alone tonight sitting with ash. 
Therefore I shall write a poem. Being I am one among the few thousands who ever had a personal conversation with Audre Lorde before she died, I keep her company tonight while she remains living to tens of thousands, if not millions, who heed her words to rebuke silence-- for silence will not protect us. Quoting her can sound pithy to the uninspired ear; but to me, her words have served me well for the past 30-some-odd years to keep my sanity for others' sake and will likely ripen into fleshy sweet wisdom beyond my 55 and into my 80 years. I am alone tonight writing with Audre. 
During this season of Lent, I will surely sync with community another day. God is in control.  I expect to have another opportunity to be in the company of churchgoers and with creative women in clubs. Good is in my favor. 
But tonight, this is Ash Wednesday-- a walk alone. 

1 comment:

  1. You are not alone, Dear Sister. There are others, who, for whatever reason find ourselves away from our "usual" environment of being with like minded believers and therfore, feeling somewhat alone. However, instead, we are our own gathered social community commemorating this time of devotion as the mark of new beginnings and our ability to adapt and seek God whenever we are. So, I join you, Sistah, in anointing myself with ashes...from burned palms from last year. #Godisfaithful