Goshay: Ashes remind us what matters most

Staff Writer
Santa Rosa's Press Gazette

If there is one thing on which we all have equal footing, it is our mortality.

The Book of James pulls no punches when its author asks the reader, “What is your life, but a vapor?”

Sometimes, the world feels as if it’s standing on its head. People whom you never thought would abandon their principals can’t shed them fast enough in order to acquire the good graces of those in power.

It all can be fodder for despair. In Psalm 37, the writer laments how the wicked seem to spread themselves like “a green bay tree.”

The problem, of course, is that none of us see ourselves as the aforementioned tree.

It’s always others who are in more need of redemption.

Ash Wednesday, a week ago today, begs to differ. It calls us all to abandon the foolishness of thinking that we have no need for penance. We all are in need of forgiveness, be it from those whom we love, or those whom we judge from a distance or even from ourselves.

If there is one universal human curse, it is the pursuit of power. It is the cause of most suffering and the underlying reason behind all wars. Ash Wednesday encourages us to stop obsessing over that which can never be possessed, only borrowed.

Our anxiety ignores this truth, so we find ourselves encased in worry, or resentment, or entertaining soul-curdling thoughts.

We are only here for a moment. Let’s make the most of it.

In 2019 alone, 70,000 Americans - more than were killed in Vietnam - died from drug overdoses.

Though the frequency of overdoses has dropped, the problem has not dissipated.

Now comes word that methamphetamine has reappeared to consume more souls like an unquenchable fire.

We know that the potential for substance abuse has always been with us. The Mesopotamians were brewing beer 10,000 years ago.

So, perhaps we need to be asking ourselves, what is it about life in 21st century America that is driving so many to take such deadly risks to escape it?

We all have a stake in defeating this monster because, at some point, it will show up in our neighborhood.

Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or On Twitter: @cgoshayREP