Choosing Love & Hope - Larry L. Mullins

Lent has always been a mystical and magical period of time for me in my life. To be honest, I’ve always secretly admired my friends who are Catholic, who always seem to have their finger on the pulse of not only what Lent is about, but also apparently know what to actually DO during the Lenten season. Sitting down last night to write this devotional, I quite honestly felt more than a bit stuck. Really stuck.

As life would have it, today brought a bit more clarity. Driving to Norman to consult with colleagues, I found myself on Main Street driving east, when I noticed two police officers in the far right lane pulling folks over. I signaled and slowly merged from the center lane to the left lane, only to have a driver 20 yards behind me lay on their horn, for what seemed liked five minutes, before making a left turn. Guess their perspective was that I had cut them off, but it didn’t really seem so from my vantage point, and not at 20 miles per hour.  So perhaps, it was the fact that I was almost run off the road the day before outside of Stillwater and had to take immediate evasive action; or that the last month had been a nonstop series of highly stressful events and unforeseen obstacles, that I had one of those moments in which I thought I would do or say something quite uncharacteristic, and probably not immediately forgivable. But I didn’t.

Five minutes later, I was trailing a car just in front of Norman Regional Hospital, still quite steamed I might add, and noticed there was a bumper sticker on the back of the vehicle in front of me. It said simply, “Choose Civility”. Seriously. Choose civility. Beautiful, simple, elegant, and to the point. The woman driving the car had this truly serene and peaceful look on her face as she turned into the hospital. I guess it was a Lenten moment for me, that there were simple choices that we could make.

Choosing to give something up yes, but not chocolate, wine, or fast food, but choosing to give up frustration, judgement, anger, and fear. As well as impatience with other people and their inherent human frailties. Including, forgiving others who make choices I would not make and who take paths I would not choose. In that moment of realizing what I could choose to give up, I felt a sense of peace I had not felt for quite some time. Choosing love and hope over despair. I think I’ll give that a try for Lent.

 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” – Isaiah 58:6-7

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