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Hubcaps on Branches and Lent

Once in a while, I see a shoe in the road. It’s odd — a shoe in a road, in a place it obviously doesn’t belong, separated from its mate.

It’s almost as odd as seeing a pair of shoes tied together and flung across an overhead wire. You can’t help wondering how it got there. Plain old weird. (Actually, I just learned that¬†the shoes are a message¬†indicating something rather sinister – like a place where one can buy illicit drugs. So this, too, is a message left for passersby, a message meant for evil.)

Every once in a while, as I am driving home, I notice a hubcap that’s hanging on a branch. As a driver who has lost a hubcap or two through the years, I know why this oddball thing is hanging on a tree branch. Someone found it and knew the owner might be looking for it. The “finder” hung the hubcap on a prominent branch in hopes that the owner would pass that way again and see it. The good-deed-doer will never get a thank you for his act of kindness. It is enough to know that the owner might be thankful for the anonymous help.

My friend, during Lent, you are hanging hubcaps on trees for passersby. You won’t be thanked. Nobody will ever come up to you and say, “Hey, when I saw the ashes on your forehead, I felt a tug to come back Home.”

Or, “When I took an order and the entire family chose seafood, I realized that they were Catholic, and I remembered that it was Friday. That’s when I went to Confession. It was the first time in fifteen years.”

Or, “I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on with her, but she just stopped joining in the office gossip. At first I thought she was sick, but she was in too good of a mood to be sick. Then I wondered. Could it be what she’s given up for Lent?”

You are hanging hubcaps on trees. They are out there, the ones who have lost something. And when they notice the oddball hubcap hanging from a tree limb, they might just say, “Hey, that’s mine. I need that back.”

No acclaim.

No recognition.

No thanks.

Go ahead and hang the hubcaps, friends. And smile while you’re doing it. You are about to make another person’s day, or week, or eternity.

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