Confessions of a Piece of Dust

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,” Gen 2:7. 

God took dust and made a man. We are the descendants of dust. Eternal souls housed in soil.

We are more than these houses. We begin and go on. and have no ending.

God has no beginning. Yet He became like us–of dust.

Glory to dust to glory again–resurrected, perfected. He walked a dusty way. And on the cross, climbed, then stood atop the mass of all our wrong steps and falls. Glory on a pile of mud and muck.

We are dust to dust. Walking a dirt road with peaks to climb. Later, we travel a new one. But it is one of our choosing. Glory or empty darkness.

People sometimes want to believe we are more than dust yet less than eternal. God remembers how He made us.

“For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust,” Psalm 103:14.

Sometimes as I stumble on the path, I remember I am dust. I cry out as dust to the glorified One. This piece of dust has fallen again.

Again.

The best part of life is realizing I am dust that glory forgives. And I am dust other dust forgives. They see my falls and hug me anyway.

I held too long my parents’ stumbles, blaming them for my own. Then I became a mother. I reached the age they were when I saw or felt their missteps.

I understood their confusion, impatience, exhaustion.

How steep were the great mountains they traversed. My own dusty hill road showed me how hard theirs had been.

How easy it is to be irritable. To watch my patch of dirt and not be mindful of others’ undeveloped trails.

My children walk their own craggy hills. Do they blame me for a jutting rock or glaring crevice?

I am dust who helped set their paths in place. I helped to shape or misshape them. They walk their own paths now, most of them leading others onto their paths.

We cannot alter the path of the past. Dusty moments become cement the instant we step past them.

But love is dust forgiving dust. Our own paths in the world make us bitter or happy. Our path, our climb, lies before us. Like our ultimate destiny, every day is a choice.

Choose to love the dust you encounter every day.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Truth, Beauty, and Light for a Hardened World

We are created in the image and likeness of God, and as such our nature refers us to Him. The battle begins, therefore, against human nature. Ideologies, naturalisms, materialisms, sexual revolutions… Everything is one assault after another on the very concept of the human, to deny the obvious: our transcendence, the immortality of our souls, our need for God, our masculine-female complementarity.” (Qtd. by Rod Dreher)

It was a moment etched in memory for me when I was in graduate school. We had class that day in a local restaurant–a change of pace from our regular classroom. The topic of discussion was an article we had read about colonialism by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak.”

Spivak is an Indian woman who took issue with the British prohibition of sati during Britain’s colonization of India. The British had outlawed the practice of a woman placing herself (or being placed) on her husband’s funeral pyre and dying in the flames.

Spivak argued that the colonialist power was depriving women of their right to self-determination. A classmate of mine agreed with Spivak representing all the voiced opinions except my own.

“But what if she wants to?” she asked me when I lamented Spivak’s view.

But what if she does not? What if her culture/his family/her family have expectations that she will die–as tradition demands? Cultural demands ooze from the word sati–the name for women who die in the flames. Satis means “a good woman.”

What horrified me most was the nonchalant attitude of the instructor and the other students. How easy it is to claim “choice” when the person with the most at stake may not actually have a choice and may not even have a voice.

My instructor and fellow students saw nothing wrong with a custom that would label a woman “good” for wanting to die. And what would the label be for a woman who might prefer not to die? Or for one who might enter the flames in less than a fully conscious state so the family would not face the shame of her resistance?

That encounter reminds me of another one I observed years earlier. I was a volunteer in training at a pregnancy resource center. A young woman came in with an older guy. She was a teen–perhaps fifteen or sixteen. He was clearly older–perhaps in his twenties.

He wanted to know her pregnancy test results–a test the center offered for free–a test whose results we would provide only to her–alone.

When the veteran volunteer told him that we would not give him the results; we would only speak with her alone, he made clear his choice in the matter. “I’ll just drive her to Pittsburgh then,” he said–the city a couple hours away, where they could obtain an abortion. During the entire encounter, she did not say one word.

They left not knowing what we knew. She was pregnant.

Despite all the shouting about female autonomy and choice, she had no voice in the matter. He had already made the decision for her. And he didn’t make it with her best interest–or that of the child–in mind.

Graduate students sitting in a restaurant speaking theoretically about satis were far removed from the reality of such a situation. At the pregnancy resource center, I witnessed someone co-opting a woman’s “right to choose.” There was no theoretical life of a child, no theoretical wound for a mother. Those were real.

Dreher: “There is an “anthropological attack” on the meaning of the human person. What C.S. Lewis called “the abolition of man” is upon us.”

When choice trumps meaning, we lose freedom rather than gain it. And in the process, we lose ourselves.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay