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Struggling with faith on Ash Wednesday

By Kaitlyn Dahle
On March 5, 2014

It's in tiny, grey print on your calendar or in your daily planner. The little words that mark any significant holiday, but yesterday it read, "Ash Wednesday."
Ash Wednesday is a Christian holiday in which people have ashes smudged onto their foreheads into the shape of a cross. It marks the first day of Lent, which is a Christian tradition of selective fasting.
Most give up eating meat during fasting, but some people will give up things like soda, coffee or high calorie foods during Lent. Some people can be so dedicated as to only eat one meal a day during this fasting.
The ashes are usually mixed with holy water, but can also be mixed with olive oil in some cases. The ashes are a public declaration of the Christian faith.
To be honest, I have never really been interested in these Christian holidays (besides Easter and Christmas) until now. I have struggled with faith, and had completely shut it out of my life when I was just 10 years old.
I have only just recently allowed myself to open up my horizons with religion.
I've always dismissed it as illogical, as most people who don't believe in any religion do.
But I've always found myself being sharply hypocritical, particularly in times of need.
And to be honest, I openly accepted every other religious belief except Christian beliefs, which I openly and unfairly ridiculed.
I am now trying to learn and understand not only my own religious beliefs, but the religious beliefs of others.
I'll be honest, I'm not sure of anything.
My mother asked me to go to church yesterday, and after researching it and sharing this knowledge, I am hung up about going to a church service when I don't completely believe.
I am certain that others have felt this religious uncertainty, but I wonder if there are many who have grappled with not believing for almost 10 years, then bringing down their walls and trying again.
If you are out there, I hope you have learned two things today.
One, just a little something about the Christian faith - whether that is the religion you are grappling with or not - and two, that you at least are not alone.
Don't do just external research, but internal research as well - what do you really believe?
Then maybe one day, you may take that step and wear your religion proudly, like ashes placed on the forehead.


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