My wonderful husband has given me a beautiful gift today…I am spending the evening alone at a hotel in order to think and pray and plan the next few months of my life. Quite honestly, I’ve been thinking about it nonstop all week, trying to figure out the best way to spend the 21 hours I would be given. Making the best use of time is not my strong suit…

While I was waiting for my hotel room to become available, I decided to go to the mall and walk around. As I was pulling into a parking spot, a woman drove up behind me and rolled down her window. She began yelling at the top of her lungs (I could hear every word even though the radio was on and my windows were closed). She was railing about the fact that I had ‘stolen’ her parking space. She informed me (in colorful terms) that she had been waiting for that space for quite some time. I was so shocked that all I could say was ‘I’m sorry’. But I had no desire to simply give in and back out of the space. Her attitude toward me had the opposite effect of what she wanted.

What makes a person so angry that she lashes out at a perfect stranger for stealing her parking space? Obviously there was much more going on in her heart than simply frustration over the busyness of the mall. And, because I knew she was clearly angry at something (or someone) else rather than me and was just throwing her anger my way because I was convenient, I wasn’t angry in return. I felt sorry for her. At first. Then I just marveled at the depravity of humanity.

As I walked through the mall, I people-watched. This is something I really love to do. It reminds me that the world is much bigger than my little existence. And how many of these souls lounging on benches and browsing the sales racks have no idea that the Creator of the universe is desperately in love with them? How many of them are lost in very dark wildernesses, longing for someone to kindle a flame and light the way for their retreat into peace? And, more poignantly, how often am I thinking of these souls? How many times do I intercede for them? How much do I even consider my calling to shine the light of the gospel of peace toward their veiled faces?

The woman whose parking space I stole remains hidden under the heavy veil of deceit. The pregnant mother of three, the business owner, the child riding the merry-go-round, the sales associate. All of them waiting, not even knowing what they are waiting for, but waiting nonetheless. Waiting for light to break through the veil. The light I have burning in my soul.

What am I so afraid of? Light permeates my existence, and the darkness cannot defeat it. Yet I hesitate. O Father of Light, grant me a willing spirit and an angst for pushing back the darkness.

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