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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

dust to dust

Today, on the day when the Church across the world says, "Remember, o man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return," I finally finished a project involving t-shirts to rags, and rags to... a rug!

I began this rag rug several years ago, before I went back to school for my master's degree.  It's made mostly of Nathan's old white undershirts, with a few different shirts of mine in various shades of brown that had become stained or otherwise unwearable.  I cut the shirts into strips, sewed the strips together, and braided them as I went along.  The most time-consuming part was then sitting on the floor, hunched forward, coiling and stitching the rug into its oval shape by hand.  But even that was nearly completed long ago, when I set it aside to prepare my grad school audition, and then, well, life was busy for a while.  Culminating in a master's degree immediately followed by a baby.

I recently saw the mostly-finished rug lying in its handiwork basket upstairs, and was re-inspired to take it up again and to finish it at last.

It doesn't quite lie flat.

But I still find myself smiling to think that I created something pretty for our home out of old, worn t-shirts.  Upcycling, as I suppose you'd call it, makes us happy because it escapes - or at least evades for a while - the usual "dust to dust" stuff of life, doesn't it?

Not that I'm advocating some sort of escapism from this reality; on the contrary, I love Lent and the many opportunities for reflection and growth that it brings.

Then again, dust to dust isn't how things are meant to be, so I don't think it's wrong to look for glimpses of glory to come, even if that glimpse comes in something so silly as a rag rug.

{Also, I'm hoping that I can rectify the issue with it not lying flat - I have an idea in mind.}

* * *

Tonight we went to church, and sang Allegri's Miserere Mei in the choir.  After having ashes imposed on my own forehead, I glimpsed others receiving the ashes as the choir sang.  A friend, father of a six-month-old baby boy, began to rise after having the ashes imposed on his forehead, but the priest reached out and stopped him, gesturing to the baby in his arms.

No one can escape this reality.  Dust to dust.  Even for babies.  This brief scene gripped me, and the "G" I was singing with the alto section wobbled a bit, caught in my throat.

I was thinking of Nell, of course.

Remember, o man, that you are dust...


My parents and siblings.

My friends.

My husband.

My -- and here is where the lump in my throat grows hardest -- my daughter.

In the sermon tonight, it was mentioned that Ash Wednesday is "the great equalizer."  This death, it's coming to all of us, and it doesn't matter the degrees we have or the physical strength we may possess or length of our resumes.

That's true, of course.  On the other hand, I believe it does matter how we use our time in the interim.

To dust we shall return, but we can make rag rugs in the meantime, and that's rather nice.

* * *

For some real Lenten reading, read Auntie Leila's posts on Lent.

And Simcha Fisher is good, as always: Lenten Rookie Mistakes.

And Clive Staples is always excellent, of course: Miserable Offenders from God in the Dock.

Do you have any good Lenten reads to suggest or share?


  1. Love your rug and this post! Gods truly the master up-cycler! For while were here in the interim, he takes our rags and turns them into something both useful and beautiful (if we allow him to twist, stretch, bind and shape us a bit!)

  2. Love this post, Sarah! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Good thoughts, Sarah. Thank you for sharing. And your rug is lovely!