Yesterday, like Christians everywhere, I stood in a line and waited for the imposition of ashes on my forehead. It's supposed to be a time when we consider our own mortality ("Remember that you are dust" and all that.)
Mostly I just think about hair.
Now, this may actually be a spiritual step up. I used to think about chocolate. Thin Mints, in particular. Every year I gave up chocolate for Lent, and by about 5:00 on Ash Wednesday, I'd spend my time in the ash line wondering if I could really stick with it.
Then one year in a moment of blinding clarity, I realized: Hell, NO, I can't give up Thin Mints. As long as the University of North Carolina plays tournament basketball in Lent, I need them for my angst and agita. (Wine won't do it - by the time the Heels reach their patented last-minute game finish, I'd be asleep.) That means Thin Mints are off the table. This year, I'm forgoing Starbuck's lattes, if you're keeping score at home.
So now I think about hair. What should I do with my bangs, which are right in the spot where the priest should impose the ash cross?
My bangs are there because . . . well, that's all they do. You don't really "style" them. If you try to brush them back, they stubbornly return.
Is holding my hair back akin to yanking the host from the priest's hand during the Eucharist? Would I be violating some unwritten Episco-rule?
I'm relying on my priest friends for an answer. Because really, at my age, I should probably spend some of that time thinking about mortality.