Skip to main content

ash wednesday: 2014

"ash wednesday 2014: the wealth of nations"
mixed media on stretched canvas (acrylic paint, vintage papers, photocopies)
10" x 8"
march 2014
gregory a. milinovich 

we are not as strong as we think we are.

that is the phrase that perhaps best sums up what ash wednesday is all about for me.

it is a reminder to stop for a moment and recognize that we are just as broken as the dust in our lungs, the earth that holds us, and the ash, that at least for one day, we will wear on our faces as if to proclaim this truth for us, since we seem mostly incapable most of the time.

we would rather ignore our brokenness, and continue the charade of strength and self-sufficiency.  wait?  i am going to die?  i am a sinful, broken person?  i think i'll just keep playing the "i'm alright, you're alright, we're all alright" game, thank you very much.  and we do play that game, don't we.  we are like kids playing the game of life, gathering spouses and children and fake money all on our way to easy street, we hope.

but ash wednesday is a necessary reminder that this is no game, and that the paper money of our games will all go up in flames, and the coins that jingle in our pockets will all be melted down, back to the elements.  the wealth of nations, says the prophet habakkuk, is all ash, in the end.

and so am i.

oh, except for easter.  there's that whole resurrection thing.  but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

below is a little collage to show you some of the progress of this year's ash wednesday's collage, called "the wealth of nations."


and can you believe that i've been at this for 8 years now?  i can't.  below you can see part of each of the 8 collages i've made.


have a blessed beginning to your lent.  may you linger awhile in the wilderness, surrendering your illusions of power and control, so that you might discover real, abundant life at just the right time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

an open letter to my sons' elementary school principal

here's the thing...i feel like the world needs more affirmation and encouragement.  the world needs more positivity, more joy, more love.  and while i can't change "the world," i can change the way i act and the things i do.  so i have decided to start telling people how awesome they are.  and i think it is important to do some of that in a public way.  so, here is a (slightly edited) letter i sent to our sons' elementary school principal.  he is awesome.  i hope it inspires you to tell someone how awesome they are, too.  and be awesome, yourself. 


Mr. Feldman,

I wanted to send you a quick note just to offer some affirmation, gratitude, and maybe even encouragement.  I believe that SCASD is a great school district, but I also know that being in public education can be a tough gig these days.  I admire teachers and administrators, especially when they do their job as a vocation, with passion and conviction.  This I see in you.  I will name three things I have per…

"follow me"

so here's the thing: i call myself a Christian.  actually, i don't even use that word as much anymore, because it ends up being a wedge between me and many other people as soon as i use it.  instead, i like to say that i'm a Christ-follower (which is closer to the way the very first Christ-followers talked about it anyway).  to be a Christ-follower is to - wait for it - follow Christ.  i know, surprising, right? 

well, it shouldn't be a shock to us that being a Christ-follower, or a Christian, means following Christ, but in America in 2018 calling yourself a Christian often has far too little to do with actually following Jesus.  when people call themselves Christians in america today, they may mean any number of things, such as:
-i went to a church sometimes when i grew up;
-i once got 'saved' at a christian camp or crusade;
-i believe in God;
-i am in favor of traditional american evangelical political positions;
-i say merry christmas instead of happy holid…

joy! this woman was born!

my friends, this unparalleled woman is celebrating a birthday today, and i cannot help but stop and say thanks that she was born.  every once in a while i imagine my life without her, and it is a dark and grim vision.  in this vision, there are no children living in my house, no voices singing opera from the shower, no kids books strewn across the living room.  in this vision, i eat spaghetti-o's from a can for dinner every night, and i am stuck in every rut i've ever gotten into.  in this terrifying vision the color of everything is gray, music sounds like a monotonous drone, and everything feels like long, cold nights. 

but she was born!

and somehow our paths were blessed to cross, and somehow i was able to convince her that spending her life with me wouldn't be as awful as it might have seemed, and somehow these last 19 years feel like the blink of an eye; like a colorful, melodic, sun-drenched, joy-filled, broken-but-blessed blink-of-an-eye journey.  all because on th…