Opportunists

Is it true that some opportunities only come once in a lifetime? Or are all opportunities, every event we face, only once in a lifetime? We’ll never get each specific moment back. We never see the same sunrise or sunset twice. Sometimes in my ordinary life I think that each day is like all the rest. There’s nothing special or significant, just the sameness of living.
And yet, there are moments when we grasp something more. Moments when we’re acutely aware that we can only experience them once…or at least that there is something unique about them.
Last night I enjoyed a wonderful (and *free* yay me!) jazz concert out in a park in small town America. Kids were playing on the playground and riding their bikes and skateboards. People were chatting. Families gathered on blankets and enjoyed the free popcorn and lemonade provided by the sponsors of the event. The threatening rain held off until the last song. It was a unique moment. And I soaked it in. Every time I listen to live music or watch a play I know I’m witnessing something that won’t be repeated exactly the same way ever again. A unique moment…a unique opportunity.
But isn’t all of life like that? We get lost in the everyday-ness: seeing the same people, performing the same tasks, listening to the same music, driving the same roads, buying the same food. Fooled into thinking there’s nothing special about an everyday encounter, we go through life half awake.
We lost a dear friend to cancer this week. He wasn’t part of our everyday life. In fact we hadn’t seen him in a few years. Now he’s gone. Rejoicing, no doubt, with a health we can only imagine, but still absent from this earth. There are no more conversations to have, no more birthdays to celebrate, no more meals to share, no more golf games to play. When I heard the news of his passing, I couldn’t help but feel bad for all the missed opportunities to interact with him…trips we didn’t take, phone calls we didn’t make, and times when we could have adjusted our schedules to allow time together, but didn’t…regretting each missed opportunity.
I guess this morning I’m struck with the fact that everyday is not ordinary. Each moment is an opportunity to either be enjoyed or missed. There are countless songs about living life to the full so obviously we know there’s more, and yet we go through most of our lives in a blur, always looking past this moment to the next thing.
I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, maybe I’ll be too tired or jaded to think moments through, but today, I want to be in each moment. I don’t want to miss conversations or sunsets or laughter or tears…I don’t want to run from life today or worse yet, sit it out. I want to be an opportunist today.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Paul to the Ephesians (5:15-16)

Thank you for not running from life, Jim. We love you.

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