I sat in Starbucks, typing away on my computer and waiting for a meeting that would eventually come. While I sat there, I did what I do so often in public places, I watched people. It’s a fascinating endeavor. As I soaked it all in, I suddenly realized that the two baristas were flying solo, they were the only ones there.
I guess it had occurred to me while I was standing in line upon coming through the door, but the point was hammered home to me as I sat at my table and watched the steady stream of customers walk through the door and wait.
The two baristas went about their work, trying their best to move the line along and fill every order that walked in. I didn’t notice any frustration or anger on their faces. I noticed them working diligently to accomplish what needed to be accomplished.
During moments when the line had tapered down, they caught their breath. I heard them talk about how they couldn’t believe what time it was already. They bantered back and forth with a general sense to the outsider that they got along fairly well with each, even enjoyed working together.
My meeting occurred and I even pointed out the somewhat impossible task that these two baristas had inherited through no fault of their own. Not long after, I left, not thinking about it again until this morning.
As my body woke me up way earlier than any human should have to get up, I made my way downstairs to go about my routine, and in the middle of that routine, my mind went to those two baristas and I realized that I had missed an opportunity. I had missed an opportunity to let them know that I had noticed what they did.
Sure, I pointed out their feat to my friend and I applauded them in my mind, but I didn’t acknowledge them to their faces. I didn’t take the time to tell them that I had noticed how they worked together, how they hadn’t complained, how they pushed through a situation that could easily have brought them both down.
I felt like I should have said something to them. I felt like I should have affirmed them to let them know that someone had noticed. I felt like I missed out on this opportunity.
It seems that life could easily be made up of missed opportunities, whether intentional or not. IF we are rushing around, we can easily miss things that are going on right in front of our nose. We may be preoccupied with something in our own life, we may be selfishly focused on whatever it is that we need to get done right at that moment. And in those moments, we might fail to seize an opportunity.
I’m realizing that sometimes, it’s not always preoccupation that takes me away from these opportunities, but it’s a general cowardice and fear. A fear that people will look at me strangely and wonder why I did what I did, why I noticed, why I took the time to notice.
But isn’t that what I would want? Wouldn’t I want them to wonder why I was doing this, why I had noticed what I noticed?
I’m praying for boldness. That was my honest prayer this morning as I thought through what I didn’t take the time to do. While I noticed my own missed opportunity, I gave myself a break and realized that while this may have been a missed opportunity, I have been seizing many other opportunities that I may have once not taken the time to seize. It’s all about the growth and forward motion, right?
The other thing about missed opportunity is that it’s not wasted if I notice and I make a change. Like I said, my observation of what I had missed pushed me towards action. You know, there is a difference between a missed opportunity and a wasted opportunity. Wasted opportunities don’t do any good while the missed opportunities might end up shaking us awake to the point of realization.
I’m praying for boldness and waiting for the next opportunity to come my way. We’ll see what happens when it comes!