It’s the morning after, but there is no Ash Wednesday hangover. Some things do, however, hang over.
In the midst of ashes and observations of mortality, babies were with us in their own mysterious way. And as one friend mentioned while cooing over a a little one after the service, there is something right and good about the newness of life, the freshness of life, helping the rest of us who are not so new and not so fresh.
It’s like babies at funerals. There the story is told, the great turning, emerging and passing, from beginning to end, the whole span. And it’s not that we need a distraction, though we probably do, but that one part of the story is put in its whole context.
When my father was near his death, riding his hospital bed toward eternity, my step-brother brought in his newly born son for a visit. And there the old one struggled to the edge of the bed in order to hold the new one. There was a wholeness in that snapshot, the moment captured, that somehow told the truth.
Perhaps one of the requisite quorums at every Ash Wednesday service should include the presence of at least one baby. “Do we have a baby yet? You know we can’t proceed until we do.” Ok, maybe not a requirement. But surely we’ll be the better for it.