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.