Missed Opportunities

In December, 2011, I attended the final hearing of my 3-year divorce case and it was a nightmare, from start to finish. While we waited for the Judge to make his decision in the financial settlement, I decided to go to Church because I knew it was the only place I might find a bit of comfort. After I lit my candle, I sat in a pew to pray and, as much as I tried to stop myself from breaking down, I simply couldn’t. The tears flowed freely and openly. There were people around and they saw that I was upset. I sat in that church, in full view of everyone, crying for no less than 30 minutes and not ONE person stopped to ask me if I was okay. What if I had been suicidal and nobody intervened? I don’t buy into the justification that people don’t want to “impose”; it takes a few seconds to say, “Are you okay? Do you need my help?” Simply knowing that someone cares may be the difference between life and death. That was a sobering experience and one I’ll never forget. If it had been anywhere else, perhaps I’d maybe understand; but, no, I was in God’s house, with fellow worshippers, who ignored me. Are people really that reluctant to not get involved?

How many life-changing opportunities do we miss in a single day, week, month, year? Are we rushing around too much to notice? Are we too preoccupied with what’s happening on the screens of our smartphones, tablets or laptops? Have we become so cynical that we dismiss the possibility of such opportunities presenting themselves to us? Do we believe that we have no power to make a difference in anyone’s life, including our own?

What if…

…we dismissed or alienated someone, in a split second, who could have eventually changed our life for the better?

…we failed to salvage a close friendship / romantic relationship by not initiating the dialogue to find out what might be wrong and how to fix it?

…a loved one left for work or school, wishing for the hug, kiss or “I love you” they never got?

…we burned a bridge with someone who might eventually be the ONLY one capable of helping us when we need it the most?

…someone we know starting believing that nobody cared because nobody took the time to show it?

…we didn’t answer our phone to talk to someone who couldn’t reach anyone else and we were their last hope?

…someone was having a really awful day and we added to it by our words or actions?

One of my greatest wishes is for there to be a movement of consideration for those around us. It’s time that we promoted understanding, compassion, acceptance. We must be vigilantly observant of those around us, to notice who needs help or intervention. After all, we would want the same from other people, not just for ourselves but for everyone we care about. We have the power to make a difference in the lives of those around us; it is also our choice of whether we want those differences to be positive or negative. If we continually choose to affect others in a negative way, we have no right to complain when others do the same for us.

It’s scary to imagine that we can’t always count on someone to help us, in our time of need, because they consider it an option or inconvenience.  Instead, let’s create a world in which we know that, in the absence of our family or friends at any given moment, someone will step up.

And be our Hero.

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