borrowed words | olive june
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borrowed words

in honor of lent beginning
All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do 
was turn your face
toward the wind

and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath 
as insubstantial--

Did you not know
what the Holy One 
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked 
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing 
that lives within
the ancient ashes, 
that makes its home
inside the soil of 
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked 
not for false humility 
of for thinking
we are less 
than we are 

but for claiming 
what God can do 
within the dust, 
within the dirt 
within the stuff 
of which the world 
is made, 
and the stars that blaze
in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

by jan richardson

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