“He made the first grains of the world’s dust.” (The Book of Proverbs)
Dust. Silken, shifting… brown-grey… mouseback grey… Dust… Brother Dustyfeet padding along the pavements in the heat of the day… Dust gathering in silence… Stardust forming radiance…
Dust I am and to dust I shall return.
My house is dusty too. Dust on the surfaces, dust accumulating in the quiet corners, dust falling noiselessly: the dust of the earth, created by God as a primal resource to make people from.
Dust becomes my enemy sometimes. I keep it prisoner. I have a vacuum-cleaner bag full of it: it cannot breathe in there – nothing could. I wage war on dust, and it never fights back: dust is peaceful and recognises me – ‘Dust thou art,’ it says, ‘and to dust shalt thou return’. Dust knows that it was created by God and that I too am made from the dust of the earth; only by an illusion do I appear to be anything else. And dust can wait; in time I shall be reinstated. So dust does not fight me, but resigns itself to evading me; rolling in small drifts out of sight, moving unobtrusively alongside the skirting boards. Lowly dust.
Jesus drew in the dust and nobody except the dust knew what he drew. I know what he drew because I am dust, so his drawing is in me too: when I return to dust I shall find what he has etched in me. So will you. It was something about understanding, and forgiveness. Something about humility.
In these days of summer the roads are all dusty… but my feet are hot, sticky with sweat, rubbing on my sandals and making blisters on my toes. So I have put a dusting of talc in my sandals, and that makes everything better, soothing and comforting. Healing dust. Dust I am and to dust I shall return. I would like to be healing dust. I am halfway there.