The Sixth Thursday in Lent

“As down in the sunless retreats of the ocean Sweet flowers are springing no mortal can see,So deep in my soul the still prayer of devotion, Unheard by the world, rises silent to Thee” — Thomas Moore

At our YMCA where I work out, every morning I see a very elderly woman, at least half past eighty, frail and feeble and barely able to walk.

Every morning I watch her, with the help of an attendant, slowly walk to the flagpole in the center of the parking lot and raise the American Flag. I cannot remember a time in the last six years that I have been there in the morning and not seen this woman raising the flag. If it’s raining she goes out in a bright red poncho. If it’s is very cold she walks out in a big white down parka, but she is always there to raise the flag.

She is in obvious pain when she walks, her steps are so short the crossing to the flag takes a long time and a lot of patience. But she smiles when the flag goes up and she stands for a moment watching it in the breeze. I don’t know who she is, or why she is so committed to raising the flag. I sometimes like to imagine that the flag is to honor a fallen husband or relative. Or perhaps she was in the armed forces herself, or the USO. Whatever the reason, that flag is her daily devotion to something greater than herself.

When I sat down to write today, I had her image in my head. The single word that I thought was “devotion.” How truly wonderful it must be to be so devoted to a single act of goodness and patriotism every single day. As I left the parking lot this morning, I was filled with a strong desire to be kind today. To make it through work without negative thoughts, and to enjoy my time at home with my family more than ever. Her act of devotion impressed on me a need to find my own devotion.


About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

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