So, way back when, I used to work in an office with a special and interesting mix of folks. One day, on Ash Wednesday, my coworker, Mary, came back from attending the noon mass at a local church. As I approached her in the hallway, I was taken aback by the very large smudge on her forehead. I said, "Mary, you've got some dirt on your forehead! Let me help you get it off." She raised her hands in defense and said, "no, they are ashes!"
Me, the little girl who grew up in Protestant-ville, knew nothing about ashes being smeared on the forehead. The churches I graced through my years were anything, but liturgical. Mary gave me the quick run down of the tradition and taught me something new in life. Thank you, Mary!
So if you see someone today, and you think their forehead is dirty, think again! I now can't have an Ash Wednesday go by without chuckling about my ignorance!
To learn a bit more about Ash Wednesday, click here.