At the start of Friday morning I had an agenda: make progress on the book at all costs.
But, I was trying to alternate my work-work-work mentality with things that would care for me and my family. I skipped the gym in favor of 30 minutes of Bible study and journaling. At the end of my journal time I wrote:
Refine me, Lord? I’m afraid to ask. It might hurt. I don’t want pain. I want ease. I want my hip to stop hurting. I want money fears to go away. I want to stop worrying about my children and how I could ruin them.
But, I’m also not afraid of hard work. I think I’ve been a hard worker. Show me where you want the work done, Lord. Show me what my part is. Show me where I need to surrender. Amen.
Lo and behold, not two hours later I was given an opportunity and I blew it. I’d finished my shopping at Walmart in record time and was heading home to get some work done. In the parking lot I offered my cart to an elderly woman with a cane. Instead of accepting the cart, she asked in a round about way if I could drive her over to the bank. The bus wouldn’t go that far, she explained.
And I looked for an excuse.
True story. I’m ashamed to admit it. Part was because I wondered if she was “a bad guy”. Like what if she had a gun or something. But, under that, disguised in fearful clothing was the fear of being put out, being taken advantage of. Years ago I had helped a stranger in a similar way and ended up being her taxi service for months, though she had sons she could call on and I had lots of little people to drag along with me.
The ghost of a thought, I gave at the office, might have even crossed my mind.
You mean I have to give more?
I give all. the. time. Or so it seems. And here was one more person asking for something.
Though she walked away from me, I went after her and helped her climb in. She had extreme mobility issues — some that I’ll probably have someday because of this darn hip. If it hurts me at 41, what will it be like at 71?
We drove to the bank. I helped her out. Another man helped her get in the foyer. It was before hours, so she would have to wait until they opened. I felt bad that I wasn’t staying to help her again when her business was done.
On my way back to the car I found a debit card that someone had dropped in the parking lot. Great. I’ll have to give again. I went home to track down the person, came up short, and headed back to the bank when it opened at 9 to turn it in, prepared to see my new acquaintance again. I was prepared this time to take her where she needed to go.
But, she wasn’t there.
I missed an opportunity to love someone this week.
I missed an opportunity to be refined.
I missed an opportunity to give just a little bit more.
And I regret that.
My wise friend Sharon consoled me, “Just pray and ask God to open your heart to future opportunities.” So that’s what I’m doing: praying that I don’t miss the next one.