Ink Slingers Michelle Schroeder

Missed Opportunities

Missed Opportunities

I imagine that most of us aren’t completely confident when we think about our final judgement before God. I mean, let’s face it, not one of us is certain of what to expect. Sure, we’ve heard a variety of suppositions about what kind of questions we may be asked or how we may have to account for our behavior, but again, we’re not exactly sure about what is going to happen. But answering for my sins doesn’t stress me out too much and it’s certainly not because I don’t have any! It’s because I know my what they are. I am very aware of the times that I have chosen gossip over silence, anger over forgiveness, pride over humility and so forth. I know that I do my best to repent and go to confession regularly, but I also know that’s probably not all there is to it.

Each time we pray the formula for general confession in Mass, I am reminded of the source of my concern about my judgement. It’s not the “what I have done” part but the “what I failed to do” that strikes fear in me. It’s the unknown, the stuff I’ve missed. What gives me pause are all the chances God gave me to be kind, loving and merciful to people that I totally ignored. Maybe I was busy and didn’t think I had time to go out of my way to help someone. Maybe I was tired and hit decline on the incoming phone call because I didn’t feel like listening to the person on the other end. Maybe I averted my eyes instead of sharing a loving look with a person who was struggling with sadness or grief. I’m not proud of any of these things but I’m sure I’ve done them and thus failed to be Jesus hands and feet and heart to others.

My fear is that all of these missed opportunities will be shown to me, newsreel style – I know that’s weird but it’s my imaginary judgement. I fear it will be a cringeworthy display of my selfishness. But then, in His infinite mercy, I pray that God will have another newsreel reminding me of the times I didn’t fail. I’ll be shown the small things I did that made a difference to people that maybe I never realized. This would show things like the compliment I paid to a mom who felt tired and wrecked, the kind note I wrote to a coworker who desperately needed it, the hugs I gave, the love I shared that may not have even been on my radar. I’m resolving to try hard to live so that newsreel is far longer than the first one. It’s not easy because it requires us to put the needs of others ahead of our own needs. It means we have to put our own mood, exhaustion and stress on the back burner to focus on someone else, maybe even a stranger.

Will you join me in looking for the opportunities you have to share God’s mercy and love with someone today?

Ink Slingers Jeanne

Missed Opportunities

When the Patriots lost Superbowl XLVI to the Giants a couple of weeks back, I did some bit of whining and play analysis and concluded that It was simply a game of missed opportunities. Could have, should have, and would haves. And It got me thinking.
How many days and moments in my life have turned into missed opportunities? Sadly, the answer is probably more than I’d like to admit. Every day we are given moments and chances to bring the Gospel to others, whether through or words or our actions. It is our choice to make the most of them or let them pass as missed opportunities.
Of course, there is a down side to good intentions- they are just that unless they are acted upon. For every good intention come a million reasons, er, excuses as to why we can’t, and eventually don’t. And if you’re like me, you’ve also found that the more excuses are made, the easier they are to come by.
As we begin Lent, let us look for the “missed oportunities” we have. The opportunity to befriend an enemy, pray for someone, be there for someone, visit with someone, the list is endless, the ideas are endless.
I’m going to challenge myself each of these days of Lent to have one less missed opportunity. I encourage you all to do it for yourself….. and for others.
Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ’Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ’Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?’ And the king will answer them, ’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.’”