Make The Most of Opportunities By Patty LaRoche

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. (Col. 4:5)

We met in the exercise room. “I’ll only be in here two minutes,” she said as a way of introduction. Two became twenty, during which time I learned the following:

  • She is divorced from an abusive man who pays her only $600 a month in alimony. Her attorneys took most of her life savings.
  • She has fibromyalgia and has battled Lyme’s disease for 20 years.
  • She has been in three car accidents.
  • Her siblings all say she is a hypochondriac.
  • Some of the doctors she has seen have been really mean, especially her urologist.
  • The house she put a bid on won’t be ready for three weeks, all of her possessions are in five storage bins, and that’s what led her to stay in the same 2-Star motel as I am. (Read last week’s article.) She is not happy here for several reasons.
  • Feral cats live by the dumpster and someone feeds them.
  • Geese, which are a protected species but should not be, leave their feces everywhere around the motel.
  • Her room is filthy and filled with cockroaches. (I have seen only one.)
  • The people above her have children who bounce off the bed.
  • Last night she was awakened by a woman screaming. It was “really hard” to go back to sleep.
  • Her previous apartment had mold.
  • Her Labrador/best friend returned neurotic from a week at dog obedience school, refusing to mind and jumping on people. Not what she expected for $1500.00, and since there is so much geese/feral cat feces and people-litter around this motel, she has difficulty finding a place to get him some exercise.
  • She has gained twelve pounds, has a muffin-top, and her hair is falling out.

Twice I interjected some thoughts, like how I probably would have alerted the desk about the screaming and surely there are some dog parks nearby. She ignored the first suggestion and spent five minutes explaining how, in her condition, it is difficult to navigate the dog park.

From that point on, I vowed to keep my thoughts to myself.

Then, looking at her watch, she said she had to scoot because she had a fibro-myalgia massage scheduled but maybe I could go out with her this weekend to a fun bar or movie.

Rats!” I answered insincerely. “In two days my husband and I will be relocating to the other side of Jacksonville.” She seemed disappointed and said she hoped we could get together sometime.

Lord, please, NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I said to myself.

As a Christian, I know God wastes no opportunities. Pastor Andy Stanley once wrote, “We don’t need to pray for more miracles, we just need to be more sensitive to the opportunities that God brings our way.” Do I believe God had a reason for Ms. Chatterbox and me meeting? Yes. Maybe to tell her Jesus is the answer or maybe just to be a listening ear or maybe to hear someone complain non-stop so I know what I sometimes sound like to God. No doubt to pray for her.

In actuality, I did all of the above…well, except for telling her Jesus is the answer. For that one, as I had vowed, I kept my thoughts to myself.

And with that opportunity, I failed her the greatest.

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