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It's February.

It's a month I both love and hate.

Dave and I (mostly Dave) have lost several family members during February. It's been 16 years since the last death, but I still approach February with a little bit of dread.

February is also the month that several close family members were born, so there are celebrations.

Ash Wednesday almost always falls in February. It's an up/down sort of day for me. I learned to love Ash Wednesday when my youngest son was born, but the day has also marked down periods for me.

Ash Wednesday is one of the most personal days that we have in our worship year. Worship is a communal action, but on Ash Wednesday we traditionally experience the personal touch of having ashes placed on our foreheads as a reminder of our mortality.

The last year has been a reminder of our mortality, which could mean that this Ash Wednesday is all the more significant.

We won't be able to do the hands-on part of having ashes placed on our foreheads. But we can participate in the communal worship (albeit virtually). Pick up your ashes at the church, or make your own, and prepare to enter into the season of Lent. This year we have the hope that we will be able to celebrate Easter in person.

- Ann Iona Warner


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