Wednesday night, Ash Wednesday, the Church was packed to overflowing with Catholics itching for ashes.
I came directly from work and was meeting my wife at the Church. I was there early and pew spots were plentiful. I picked a spot right off the aisle, second row from the back. As the Church began to fill up, pew spots were becoming harder to get. I am not usually a seat-saver but my wife has some medical issues right now and I wanted her to be able to sit. I had a little room next to me and so when a few people came up to me and asked if anyone was sitting there I said, “My wife and kids, they will be here in a minute.” Most people said “Oh, ok.” But one woman gave me a real dirty look and went to stand in the back.
As we got closer to the service beginning, and my wife still not there, this woman was stewing. About a minute before the scheduled start of the Ash service, the woman came up to me at the end of the pew and pushed me out of the way. Startled, I said “My family is sitting here,” and she growled at me “Then where are they?” I responded “They will be here in a minute.” Undaunted, she pushed me aside and sat down. My wife showed up thirty seconds later with the five kids in tow, seat-less. Nice.
After the service, on the way out of the parking lot, a speeding car so completely cut me off that I had to jam on the brakes hard enough to send my phone and laptop bag crashing to the floor. Nice.
I was short on gas so I stopped at a gas station a half a mile from the Church. Apparently I was not the only one who needed gas as the line was fairly long. I got in the queue and waited my turn.
As a car at the pump made to pull away, an SUV came in from a side entrance of the gas station and pulled right into the open spot, jumping at least 6 cars on line. The man got out of the SUV and right in the middle of his forehead–a big black smudge of ash. Nice.
I thought about giving him a piece of my mind, but then I checked myself.
You know, when we are walking around with the big black smudges on our foreheads, we loudly proclaim to the world that we follow Christ. It might be a good idea if we take a moment and check ourselves, so we don’t act like a bunch of ash-holes.
Even better, we could act like we are followers of Christ and his example, every day.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”