I was able to help distribute Ashes last week at my parish. It feels funny to be able to do that, seems like it ought to be a priest... actually I have been giving out ashes at my various parishes over the past several years, but it never stops being a surprising honor.
I guess what makes it feel odd is how intimate it is. First, to touch anyone on the head is a pretty personal action- and when it's a stranger, that's a little strange. But often, I had to reach up and sweep someone's hair off their foreheads to ashify them. How intimate is that?
But finally, the weirdest part is that I am charged with telling everyone in my section to "turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel". As if I'm qualified to be telling anyone that! I suppose priests aren't necessarily more qualified in that area, either... who is, right? Maybe that's the thing- no matter who's telling you to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, it's good advice. Even if they don't necessarily follow that advice in the most stellar manner themselves.