I was genuinely surprised tonight to see someone with ashes on their forehead.
After a day of literally nonstop activities from two photo shoots to a playdate to making dinner to my pilates class, I never once remembered it was Ash Wednesday, let alone spent any time reflecting….until my drive home from the hospital tonight. I had another NILMDTS photography session late this evening. I probably won’t blog about these sessions every time I do one, though maybe I will. Coming into contact with these families even for such a brief time still deeply impacts me in a meaningful way. I had received the phone call regarding this session early this afternoon with the brief summary that mom was in labor and would need my services once she delivered. As I made my way through the day, my thoughts lingered on this mom and I pondered what must be on her heart as she prepared to deliver a child she would only briefly hold.
And now, tonight, I think about the beauty of the two babies I held today: one in this morning’s client photo shoot where tears of pure joy were shed and the room was so full of hope and promise for this little boy; and one this evening where tears of sorrow were shed for a baby going home to Jesus. I was fine in tonight’s shoot until mom asked to dress him in his “going home” outfit. I remember the delight I had in picking out that special outfit to take my new little boys home in. And so I had to step outside the room and sob for a few minutes while mom dressed her little boy.
As I drove home I realized my day had been preparing me for a reflection on Lent and Easter all along.
On Ash Wednesday, we can face death (as my devotional reading on the Beliefnet reminded me tonight). We can talk about the limits of this life. Why? Because we know that there is life after death! When I acknowledge anew through this Lenten season how desperately I need God, and how He is faithful to my tired, weary spirit, I can offer my life to him in fresh gratitude and fresh energy. And when we recognize that life is short and we never know if our days will be one or one hundred, then we find so much more reason to celebrate the gift of each and every day, and to take none of them for granted.