I think it was my pastor who preached a sermon titled, “Ashy Saints” sometime ago. Although I keep sermon notes, reread them periodically, and typically share them with others, this particular title never really crossed my mind again until now. Here’s why….
Still getting acclimated to Instagram, after about a year of not mastering all of its functionality, I recently started following Oprah. In an Instagram post on the day of the Golden Globe Awards, Oprah and her BFF Gayle were video’ed getting ready for the big event. Oprah was getting her hair done–getting her glam on, however Gayle was dressed, looking lovely in a blackish shimmery evening gown. Her hair was ‘hooked’, however she wasn’t quite happy about the glasses she was wearing. I think she said something like, “I have some dark gray ones…..” I felt that she needed those gray ones, because I really wasn’t feeling the ones she had on with the dress, and Oprah wasn’t either. 🙂
The two BFFs were chatting it up like girlfriends do. As Gayle twirled for an, ‘Am I good?’ check, Oprah said to Gayle something to this effect…”Get your elbows. Hey, a little Ash Wednesday on your elbows there…” She made maybe another utterance about it, asking someone to get her some “cream for the elbows”, all to make sure that her girl didn’t hit the red carpet with ashy elbows. She was NOT going to let her look crazy, not 100% put-together, and be ridiculed by anyone–not the attendees, not red carpet correspondents, not entertainment TV shows, absolutely no one!!! I thought, that’s a real friend! Gayle’s elbows might be ashy, but Oprah apparently is not an ashy friend!
Well, what does that really mean? Girl, Who are you calling ‘ashy’?!?!? Thoughts twirling through this middle-aged brain landed here: Ash is a skin condition that needs attention. Ash, if left untreated, is scaly, dry, unattractive to the eye and makes you feel like there is something else to be desired–some type of moisture! Back in the day, it meant, “Get the Vaseline jar!” 😉 Sometimes, it’s as if you’re not fully dressed or your attire is not quite complete until you take care of that ash. Seems like there might be some equivalency to folk–some congruence to folk one might deem as an ashy friend.
My ‘take’ is that an ashy friend is one who doesn’t protect you at all costs. An ashy friend could really care less if people talk about your fashion, your family, your moments of foolery, or your emotional foo-pas. An ashy friend will even engage in ridicule or demeaning conversations about you. They don’t protect your name, your character or defend your honor. An ashy friend is like drinking a swig of Texas Pete hot sauce or something that’s excessively tart, doesn’t taste that good, and gives you a momentary or prolonged feeling of the nasty blaaaaahs. It’s also sort of like having an acquired taste for hot mustard as an accompaniment for an Asian dish or wasabi sauce with sushi. I can’t imagine that either really tastes good, but for those who like them, they’re obviously palatable and provide some sort of temporary pleasantry for their taste buds.
I guess this particular ‘dropped in my spirit’ moment landed so that I could share this… We should protect our elbows and our peace and closely monitor relationships with maybe sweet, but extremely ashy friends. Real non-ashy friends are like a bottle of good lotion, a richly nourishing body oil or an extremely emollient body cream…providing moisturized and healing fixes for our mind, heart, soul, spirit, and yes, even our body when needed, much like Oprah did for Gayle. As in the situation with these two BFFs, if one can’t slather on the moisture for the other, they make sure that someone is in place who will.
Let’s surround ourselves with Godly counsel, the goodness of family and great non-ashy friends! Oh…And of course, remind ourselves not to be ashy either! In doing so, we should not contribute to the character assassination of those who are near and dear to us—those who certainly would not do that to us, and those who would never form alliances with those who will/do. Our true friends should be in good hands with us at all times, and vice-versa. Although my ash meter needs recalibrating, I’ve said to a friend a few times, “I’m not gonna let anybody talk about you any ole kind of way. I will defend your honor…” That was spoken in love, not ash!
It’s time for an Ash check!! We should sincerely and genuinely mean it when we say so kindly, sweetly and adamantly, “I got your back!” Let’s not choose sections, segments, portions or pieces of their back, but have the whole thing, and at all times! I happen to have some wonderful non-ashy friends loving and supporting me. For that, I am extremely grateful and blessed. You know who you are!
Peace and Blessings,