Mother Earth & Beloved Belonging
By Kaitlin Curtice
Day 1: Dust
Men must be born and reborn to belong.
–Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux
You know, dust-to-dust isn’t just a phrase we save for the Lent season. If you grew up like I did in the Southern Baptist church, maybe you didn’t know about Lent until adulthood. Even so, I find that across religious and faith backgrounds, we all share this in common: we belong to the earth. As an Indigenous woman, as a citizen of the Potawatomi nation, I am called to remember that I belong to Mother Earth, and that she has a role to be my teacher and my caretaker.We remember that we are all called to this as human beings, no matter where we come from.
Aren’t we always dust-to-dust?
Aren’t we always dying and living again, breathing and striving and returning to the earth in the end?
Aren’t we always the people we were created to be, people who started from the dirt below us?
To know ourselves is to know where we come from and where we are going, and the dust is like our original womb, where our mothers and grandmothers were born, too.
In the Lenten season within the Christian tradition, we often lament our dust-to-dustness.
We lament that we are broken.
But what if we were to celebrate that we sacredly belong to this earth that has always held us? What if we were to say a word of thanks for this existence?
Growing up in the Southern Baptist Church, I also never learned of the earth’s goodness. I never learned that she teaches us things. I never learned that I find God in meadows and anthills. But to step out of a colonized view of the world, we remember. We see things as they are.
We rejoice that we are dust to dust.
It is because of the dust that we know we belong.
It is because of the dust that we know miracles happen.
It is in the dust that we are reminded of our smallness, our exquisite frailty.
From dust you formed things seen and unseen.
May we sit in that reality today.
May we stare at our hands and feet and realize
that we belong, sacredly, eternally,
to an earth that was created with all
sacredness in mind.