Religions and Spirituality

Letters to the Editor

In the Silence of the Ash Heap: Reflections from the March for Our Lives in DC


In many ways, it seems only fitting that in this final week of Lent, my reflection on the March for Our Lives in DC should be connected with an Ash Wednesday sermon I heard many years ago entitled “Sitting in the Ash Heap.” The fact that the Parkland shooting occurred on February 14th which was Ash Wednesday this year seems to further solidify and mystify the connection.

The image of sitting in the ash heap has steadied me in my darkest times and when I’ve been faced with how to help others in their bleakest hours. When someone is wounded, broken, grieving, and lost, I often feel like I must say something, do something, or have the “right” answers. I have often been afraid of engaging with hurt loved ones and friends until I feel like I know how to handle the situation. In this Ash Wednesday sermon years ago, I learned that the idea of sitting in the ash heap is simply to be present with someone who is hurting and share with them in their pain. It’s not about words or actions, it’s about being beside someone, listening to them if they want to speak or sitting in silence when no words can be spoken.

At the March for Our Lives on Saturday, there was incredible line up of voices telling stories to hundreds of thousands of people about the darkest hours they had experienced as survivors of gun violence. The most powerful moment, for me, was found in the four and half minutes of silence when Emma Gonzalez wept and held the audience captive through her tears. She opened up her wounds for all to see and gave each person at the rally a chance to be present with her in the darkness. In that moment, 800,000 people of all ages, races and religions, stepped into the ash heap with her and allowed themselves to feel her pain and the brokeness of her fellow survivors. 

Sign Up for E-News

The shared silence was the most profound moment I have ever witnessed and experienced. I am forever altered because I, along with so many others, sat in the ash heap with Emma.

With the students and survivors leading the way, we will hold each other up as we stand from the ashes. Now that we have been into the deepest wounds of all those who bravely shared their grief, fear, suffering, and pain, we are bonded with them in our collective journey towards light.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Save the Date for Back to School Enrollment Night at My Gym New Providence

July 16, 2018

Join us at our Back to School Enrollment Night and discover why kids from infants to 10 years old love My Gym!  Parents can explore our immaculate state-of-the-art facility, meet our amazing staff,  learn about our award winning programs, and check out our fantastic Birthday Party packages. 

We are celebrating 35 years of My Gym, so it's the perfect ...

17 Years Running and the Pizza is still Hot!! The Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza is July 25, 2018

The 17th Annual Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza, now more often referred to as the ‘Pizza Run’ will be here in no time! Don’t forget to sign up for a night of running, pizza, prizes, and entertainment! The event will be held on July 25, 2018 with a start time of 7 pm. Register online at before our Monday July 23, 2018, at 11:59 pm deadline will be ...

Union County’s Free Summer Arts Festival Continues July 18 at Echo Lake Park Featuring 5 Against 1

The Union County Summer Arts Festival concert series continues on Wednesday July 18, with the band 5 Against 1, a Pearl Jam  tribute band, taking the stage at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

The free series, presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders,is held at Echo Lake Park during July and moves to Oak Ridge Park in Clark during August.

5 Against 1, which ...

Severe Thunderstorm, Flash Flood Warnings in Effect for New Providence Tuesday Afternoon

July 3, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Union County until 2:30 p.m. and a flash flood warning until 5 p.m.

“Torrential rainfall is occurring with this storm, and may lead to flash flooding,” the service warned. “Do not drive your vehicle through flooded roadways.”

Sign up for our free enews and get ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Before & After: The Contrasting Color Kitchen Remodel

July 5, 2018

Before and After

Over the years we have designed and remodeled hundreds (if not, thousands) of kitchens.  Every client and kitchen are different, which makes for a very interesting job working as a kitchen designer! But every once in a while, a kitchen comes along that really makes you stop, think, and appreciate the beauty of transformation.  One of the most rewarding experiences is ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, July 16, 8:00 AM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Barre Intensity

Health & Wellness


Mon, July 16, 9:15 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Aroma Flow Vinyasa

Health & Wellness


Mon, July 16, 10:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, Providence

Pilates Reformer

Health & Wellness


Mon, July 16, 11:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Hath Yoga Flow

Health & Wellness


Mon, July 16, 11:00 AM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Hatha Flow Yoga

Health & Wellness


Mon, July 16, 6:30 PM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Beneficiary Forms - As Important as Your Will

As you plan for the future, don’t leave out one of the most overlooked must-do’s: naming the beneficiaries of your retirement assets. Updating your beneficiary forms ensures that the legacy you worked so hard to build will be distributed correctly. Don’t delay -- the designations on your beneficiary forms supersede those stated in your Will. 

Try answering the ...