Missed Opportunities

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by Helen D

Although I’m spending a lot of days and nights by myself these days, I’m not focused on hearing God much of the time. When I heard the next Day with Jesus retreat was scheduled to be at Claremont’s Santa Ana Botanical Garden, I signed up.

The focus of the day was on “slowness”…rethink the urge to schedule every moment of the day and allow yourself a margin of time between activities to allow God into your day. In a quest for efficiency, many of us feel most purposeful when we follow an agenda. When will we hear God if we’re frantically rushing around? I was convinced “slowness” is something to consider and apply to my life.

Yesterday, my brother in law Bill and I decided to have lunch at Stonefire Grill. We could barely open the door to get in at 12:15 pm, prime lunch hour for workers from nearby offices. The customer in front of us told us…”It won’t take long; they’re very efficient.”  After we ordered our food and found a table, I saw her walk past us, and felt the urge to ask her to join us. My next thought was: “What if she thinks I’m weird/intrusive?”  Sad to say, I listened to that little voice and did not invite her to sit with us.

After the meal, we decided to stop in at Trader Joe’s next door. As soon as I picked up a basket, who did I bump into but the same lady? “Are you following me?” she jokingly asked. We laughed, and I inquired “What job do you have that gives you the time to eat lunch out and have time to go shopping for groceries, too?”  “I’m retired!” she answered, and went on to explain that she lives close enough to walk over from her home, on XYZ street. “No kidding, I know someone that lives on that same street!” Miss P (she gave me her name) asked who it was, and turns out it’s a neighbor she knows from their annual block party. I met our mutual acquaintance at Bible Study Fellowship, and the same person invited Miss P to attend our Thursday sessions. We chatted a bit more, and I was left feeling regretful that I missed out on an opportunity to make a new friend over lunch. But God arranged for us to meet in spite of my reluctance.

A divinely appointed moment…