My days all begin in the same way.
Smokey, my cat, wakes me up for breakfast and to signal that I’m still here and have at least one purpose.
His inky black fur is laced with white now… more and more every day…the white fur being a message that time is limited.
I know this because I received the same message with the gray on my head.
I make him a good breakfast…
After I feed him I go out in the house to see if both my mother and her cat are still alive.
Today, they are… if tomorrow comes, I will check again.
There is ash in the forecast here.
Death has not yet arrived, but is in transit.
I have no need to have ash on my forehead today to remind me that I will die.
There is ash all around me…I kick up ash with every step, inhale it with every breath, and push it aside in piles with every prayer.
My temporal hopes and expectations have already turned to dust, my body will follow at the appointed time.
Yet, I live.
All of the ash floating about me reminds me that I will die, but life is still precious.
I will die, but I will rise again at another appointed time.
In some way that I cannot comprehend, I am already in possession of eternal life.
Someday, the ash will blow away, but the life that grew in it will last forever.
It will be…a very good life.