The First Day of Lint

Today my nine-year-old, who would want you to know she is almost ten, declared today the “First Day of Lint.” I wore a black sweater to celebrate. 

Lint is an undesirable substance (unless you make your living selling lint-removing devices, I suppose). Lint hitchhikes its way through life and gets in the way of our perfect presentations of self. Sometimes, in an act of generous friendship, another human extends their arm and picks off something attached to my sweater. We’ll lock eyes and nod, knowing we’re all just trying to be our best selves in the world. 

Ash Wednesday is the First Day of Lint. I think ashes might beat out lint in a March Madness-like bracket of undesirable substances. Ashes remind us that none of us get out of this life alive. We all have ash stories: our cancer came back, our baby died, our dream died, we hurt. Ashes smudge our shiny perfect life lie. 

<Stop here and take a deep breath!> 

Ashes right-size my expectations about lint-free sweaters, clean houses, perfectly behaved children, and a career with a lot less email. Today, in an act of generous friendship, another human will extend their arm and smudge ashes onto my forehead. We’ll lock eyes and nod, knowing this is the season to put down bullshit perfectionism and obsession with self-improvement in order to see the beauty of being loved without having to qualify for it.