Missed Opportunities

In The Nodding Post, I wrote about missing important moments by not paying attention, laziness, fear or failing to follow God’s prompting. Well, guess what? I’ve had another one of those moments.

This morning I received the news that one of my cousins overdosed on drugs and died. I wasn’t close with this cousin. In fact, I hadn’t seen her in years. When we were little, our families got together frequently, so we were close then. But as we got older, we drifted. Then I moved to the other end of the State from her.

Not too long ago, I noticed some social media postings from her indicating that she was living in my city. I thought that was strange because no one told me. I reached out to her by responding to the social media posting, but it was a while before I went back and checked for a reply. She had in fact moved, temporarily I found out later, to my city. I said to myself then that I needed to ask her to lunch or to come over to the house for a visit. But I never did. We had been apart for so long, I guess the awkwardness formed a barrier.

The months went by and I would see her from time to time pop up on social media. Just a couple of days ago, she “liked” a Facebook post on my page. Again, I thought about wanting to invite her, and again I did nothing. And then this morning I received the tragic news. Guilt immediately washed over me along with the sadness of the loss of a family member. And I sat there looking at her Facebook “like” as if her death wasn’t real.

I was informed that she was in my city for the purpose of drug rehab, which apparently she did not follow through with. So, she was hurting and struggling and here I sat doing nothing to reach out to her. Chances are nothing I would have said would have changed her conduct, but you never know what effect something you might say or do will have on someone. And you never know what God might spark in someone’s heart. But, at the very least, I missed the opportunity of sitting with a family member and showing her that she was loved. And I missed the opportunity of sharing in her life.

Missed opportunity. It weighs you down. The goings on in one’s life seem so important at the time, and yet much of it is meaningless compared to friendship, family and sharing the love of Christ. Whether it be a relative you haven’t seen in a long time, or a friend that moved away, or a homeless person on the street, or mission work you’ve been nudged toward but have ignored, don’t miss the opportunities of being part of or changing someone’s life. Regret far outweighs inconvenience or awkwardness. And someone’s life is far more important than anything the world provides.

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19 thoughts on “Missed Opportunities

  1. Wow, that’s hard. So sorry. But thanks for this much needed reminder. It is so true that we never know what we do that may help someone. Sometimes, in fact, all it takes is showing we care. Let’s not waste any opportunities that the Lord gives us. Reaching out IS always worth it!

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  2. I had a similar experience last year August. I was on my FB when a friend back home sent me a message and we chatted briefly. She told me she tried calling me severally but my phone was permanently on voice mail. I told her she may have dialled an old number. She asked for my new number and I promised to call her instead. Well, well, I never did. Now, imagine how shocked I was to read about her sudden demise in October, I broke down. Even as I write, I still haven’t gotten over that sense of guilt. We would have talked… But I missed that opportunity. It hurts! Bitter lessons of life.

    I am sorry for your loss. I know that feel. It’s a sad feeling. Many thanks for sharing this post. Indeed, ‘missed opportunities weigh us down’.

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      1. I feel better sharing my own story too. These things happen and one has to be careful in life. We need to pay more attention to people who call upon us. This post is a reminder that we should not take anyone and thing for granted.

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  3. I’m reminded of a common sermon that goes like this:
    —————————————–
    A very religious man was once caught in rising floodwaters. He climbed onto the roof of his house and trusted God to rescue him. A neighbor came by in a canoe and said, “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll paddle to safety.”

    “No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

    A short time later the police came by in a boat. “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll take you to safety.”

    “No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

    A little time later a rescue services helicopter hovered overhead, let down a rope ladder and said. “The waters will soon be above your house. Climb the ladder and we’ll fly you to safety.”

    “No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

    All this time the floodwaters continued to rise, until soon they reached above the roof and the religious man drowned. When he arrived at heaven he demanded an audience with God. Ushered into God’s throne room he said, “Lord, why am I here in heaven? I prayed for you to save me, I trusted you to save me from that flood.”

    “Yes you did my child” replied the Lord. “And I sent you a canoe, a boat and a helicopter. But you never got in.”

    Source: http://storiesforpreaching.com/i-sent-you-a-rowboat/
    —————————————–
    Missed opportunities.

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  4. Amen, we don’t want to miss opportunities to minister. So sorry for your loss. It reminds me of Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC who reported last week that he had gone into a coffee shop and saw Garry Shandling that weekend. He said that he thought to say something to him but figured if he saw him again there, he would speak, but I believe it was the following Tuesday he passed away. So yes, it is regrettable, but know this: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23, 24

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  5. You have my condolences on your family loss. I have lost a lot of family members over the last year, known and personally unknown. I do appreciate, however, you taking the time to remind us what is really important in the midst of your loss. Sometimes, life does allow a grace when it comes to how we handle a situation. Your grace is letting us know that we need to be listening and obedient to when the Holy Spirit nudges us to engage with others. Thanks again.

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  6. First I’m sorry for your family’s loss. Second I’m not at all surprised at having crossed paths with you and this story.
    Last month I spoke with my mom on the phone. I asked her if she knew how long it had been since we spoke, she said no and I said, Mom it’s been 3 weeks. Don’t you miss hearing from me? Again she said, ” no your an adult”. I’m not sure what she meant by that but after we hung up I decided not to call her if she didn’t miss hearing from me. Another month went by and my dad called me and said mom had a stroke. I felt awful for two reasons 1) being prideful and not calling 2) her condition. She is perfectly fine now but lesson learned. I’m pretty sure God put you in my path for a reason.

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  7. So sorry for your loss. This post really speaks to me, it is totally right and reminds me I should always be aware of the struggles others may have around us but keep hidden. That as hard as it feels for me to reach out sometimes, that it may be ten fold harder for the other party and we should always try.

    Thank you

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