Thursday, December 15, 2005
My first Lent
I went to S. Stephen's, in Providence, for my first Ash Wednesday two years ago. It was a cold night. I was there with a friend who was Catholic. She wanted me to go to her church... a very cool Portuguese church on the East Side, but I wanted to take communion, so she came with me instead.
I remember how it felt to go up to the rail for communion that night. How the priest's thumb felt on my forehead. I walked out into the Providence night with the mark on my head, proclaiming to the world, to strangers, to Brown students and East Siders the truth of my life: I am a Christian.
I had an online friend who had done a birthday reading for me a month before. He decided to choose Hebrew letters for me. (He had a little deck of cards that just showed images of the letters. Since they are so packed with meaning, they can be used as a sort of oracle.) He wrote and told me that the letters appeared in his head before he drew the cards. He wasn't surprised that they were a match. Even now, two years later, I remember the reading vividly.
Gimel- a journey, discovering my path.
Kaph- He said I was in the process of making a decision... and that the decision was in my hands. He could see me holding water in my cupped hands, and my choice was whether to let it slip through my fingers or hold on to it. (This reading took place only a few months after my baptism!)
And finally, Tav- The mark of God. Since Ted didn't know at the time of the reading that I had 'gone Jesus' he was a little hesitant to comment about Tav. (He is Jewish, so it probably was strange to him that he 'saw' a cross when he pulled the letter.) He finally just came out and suggested that I was being called by God... I wrote back and shared that I had just been baptised and his reading suddenly made sense.
So, on the night of Ash Wednesday, I walked into the world with the mark of God on my forehead.
That night, I rubbed my forehead on one of my journal pages so I could save the smudge of ashes that meant so much to me. And joked in my journal about seeing doves falling from the sky.
A few weeks later, as I was driving to my mother's house, I decided to take a different route than normal. As I pulled around a corner, a big peregrin falcon swooped in front of my car and dropped something on the street in front of my. I pulled to a stop. It was a dove.