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imageAsh Wednesday.  Dust donning our foreheads as we remember our frailty, our mortality, our mistakes.

But for those who have been through tough relationships in our younger days, the ashes upon our foreheads represents the residue left behind from past loves.

It’s not that we usually dwell on many memories or wish that life worked out differently with the one who is no longer in our lives.  But the matted dusty remains symbolize the tiny bits of grime left on our hearts from broken relationships.

The dust collects after someone has cheated.  Specks of dirt linger after hurtful words are hurled at us. The glowing embers of hope that once warmed us now shine no more.

Maybe we began with clean slates and pristine hearts.  Slowly over time, the fragments of dirt settled, leaving our souls just a bit more smudged.

So on Ash Wednesday, we not only remember our morality, we also remember how our spirits have been tarnished along the way.  And we remember how God can take our ashed pasts and transforms them into something that glows no matter what has happened and who hurt us.