an Ash Wednesday prayer
Updated: Feb 26
I confess to often wanting less
than what the sparky spirit of life might
want to be making through me.
I confess to being often ignorant of death,
shying from the rich mysteries that might
dwell in my shadows.
I confess to sometimes collapsing
into the habit of incomplete desires—
the wanting of warmth
without the patience for fire;
the longing for immersion
without the diligence of deep breath.
Even so, I am coming home to the beauty of my imperfection.
I am coming home to the force of the multitudes that I contain.
I am coming home to the tense muscle of my body.
I am coming home to the crinkled flesh of my concentrated gaze.
I am making space for my tears,
setting them up in a prominent place,
setting up for them a wingback chair
in the corner of my soul
where they can comfortably sit
and see the whole room.
Situated here I am overwhelmed with prayer:
Envelope my heart in a cloud of courage,
and renew a steadfast spirit in me.
Keep me attuned to the winds and the wild,
and grant me a willful spirit
that enjoys the ways of wholeness.
For a longtime I have held on to the idea of myself.
For a longtime I have practiced the theory of me.
The veil between theory and practice is thinner these days,
and I am in the field waving it like a flag,
with all my might—
at the same time both
a gesture of surrender
and a signaling for backup.
In both ways I am committed—
more with each unfurling flick of my wrist—
to being all the way alive.