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March 5th, 2014

JILL — DAY 1 : Ash Wednesday Gratitude

Lenten Gratitude: 5x40

 
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People wait in line for ashes at St. Patrick's Cathedral - NYC

People wait in line for ashes at St. Patrick’s Cathedral – NYC

Here we go — 5 things for which I’m grateful on this Ash Wednesday:

  1. Love seeing how many Catholics are in NYC! So many people that think NYC is a faithless place.  That’s definitely not true of the city and about the people who live here. I’ve included a picture to prove it–attached is a quick shot of the LONG line of people waiting to get ashes at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  As you can see, the line for ashes today extended from inside the cathedral, all the way out the door, and down 5th Avenue outside.  Despite all of the scaffolding and restoration, it’s another record Ash Weds crowd this year at the Cathedral, where ashes are distributed all day long.  This is true faith in action!
  2. The instant fellowship you share when you see someone with ashes.  On this day, we all wear a visible sign of our faith.  And, it’s certainly empowering to see ashy foreheads in places and on people you never expected – on the bus, on a neighbor’s forehead, at a business meeting, or online: #showusyourash  I learned all about the concept of the mystical body of Christ via the University of Texas Awakening Retreat.  On days like today, you get to see that concept come to life in such a tangible way.
  3. Working with some of the most amazing, smart people who challenge me every day.  What I love about these folks is that we’ve been through some crazy stuff together and have always prevailed for each other. I’m truly blessed to work with some of the best in my industry in a safe space where I can grow and make the difficult calls with confidence. In a nutshell, they truly rock. And, I’m so blessed to work where I do.
  4. Grateful to have reconnected last night with a friend from high school – we had an amazing dinner after not seeing each other since high school graduation! While time marches on, sometimes WAY too fast, it’s great to see that friendship abounds and some things never change. Our hanging out reminded me that I need to be better about staying in touch with my high school classmates.  Loved seeing you, Bob!
  5. Last, but certainly not least, I am ever so grateful for my awesome family: mom, dad, brother and scores of aunts, uncles and cousins in India and here.  I’m sure you’ll see that these folks will make more than one appearance on my list during this Lent…. For good reason–They are truly my epic foundation and the reason that I am the person you see today.  I am truly blessed to be a part of this family.
 
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The Author : Jill Olickan
A proud Texas native, Jill is a marketing director living in New York City. When you can’t find her working, traveling to fabulous places, singing or running in Central Park, you’ll find her spending time with friends and at events that help her grow in her Catholic faith. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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