Monday, September 15, 2008

A Missed Blessing

I wrote this last summer when I was in Ohio.

Today I missed a blessing. In fact I missed two blessings. I shouldn’t have missed either one, but I lacked the forethought and the courage to take advantage of the situations I saw.

I am camping in Ohio, by myself since I dropped Sarah off at Harp Camp last night. This morning as I walked back from the shower house I followed another woman the entire way. She had refused to make eye contact earlier, and I got the distinct impression that she was nervous and perhaps I scared her. So I tried to follow her without following her… and when I got to my tent I went about the business of getting dressed and getting breakfast. Somewhere in there I realized the other woman was also camping alone, and she was packing up her stuff. I continued on with my business and only when it was too late did I realize that I should have offered to help her with her tent. I was so busy trying not to intrude that I missed an awesome ministry opportunity. By then she was rolling up the tent and had done the hard part. She put the tent into her car, got in the car, and just sat there for the longest time. Eventually she got out and went back to the bathroom. I prayed for her, something did not feel right. But she came back and as she was getting into her car again she glanced my way. This time she did make eye contact, and smiled. I felt lousy. I could have helped her and perhaps talked to her about the Lord along the way; but I didn’t.

After that I visited a church. Not only because I needed to fill the time, but also because I just wanted to; I enjoy being with other believers. I had seen this small community church with the Angel Food signs out front… I am not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t really it. I think I tend to think of a Community Church as being contemporary… but this turned out to be a traditional church. The building was beautiful inside, with a lovely wood ceiling. Like the rest of the area, there was no air conditioning, which feels really weird to me. The congregation seemed to be primarily older. The pastor was warm and friendly, as were the people. In fact, they were very welcoming. They sang hymns and choruses, read prayers aloud, and the pastor preached from the scripture. He wore a black robe. The sermon was on marriage… he read the passage about marriage and the resurrection, and after spending a short time on what we will be like in heaven he spent the rest of his time on marriage. Kind of a tangent, but perhaps relevant to the times and he said nothing unscriptural. As we sang and I listened, I felt a melancholy slip over me. I missed Thomas and my own church. I missed Wesley and the kids. When the service was over I turned down the invitation of coffee and fellowship and left. Afterwards I kept being tempted to turn around and go back, but didn’t. There is nothing worse than being lonely in a crowd of people. But later, when it was too late to go back, I realized it was a mistake. I realized that had I spent time with those people, I would not have been alone. I might have found friends. I might not have eaten lunch alone, might have had help taking down my tent and setting up camp again, might have found an internet connection, might have had someone to call should I need help this week. I missed another blessing. Two in one morning.

The first time I missed being a blessing, the second time I missed receiving a blessing. Both times made me feel very much alone, and neither of them can occur again, the opportunities are lost forever. How many opportunities do I miss without ever realizing it? Lord, open my eyes and give me courage to step up to the opportunities You place in front of me!

©Rebecca A Givens, 7/2008
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