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  • Writer's pictureAram Mitchell

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.

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