Have you ever felt a knocking on your heart? A feeling like you know you should reach out to someone. You know you should help. You know should make eye contact, say something, touch their arm or give them a hug. Your heart is telling you to do it, but you don’t. You miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can never get back.
These opportunities happen all the time to all of us. It only takes a second to miss them.
Her nail polish was cheerful turquoise. It matched the bright, happy color of her headband, however, everything between the nail polish and headband spoke of sadness. Her teenage shoulders were bent from weakness as if they had carried years of stress. Her blue eyes rarely connected with mine as she took my order and prepared my sandwich.
It was a quick lunch stop for me as I was driving home from a speaking event. In and out. That is what I wanted. It was late in the afternoon and only hunger could interrupt my determination to get home. A fast sandwich and then back on the road. I paid her, thanked her and hustled away with my lunch. The whole time her despair was knocking on my heart’s door saying,
“Help, Help, let me in!”
I ran through the rain to the safety of my car and began the drive again. With every bite I took and every mile I drove, I thought of her. The knocking was still there. The heaviness of her sadness. The guilt grew with every swish of my windshield wipers. Guilt for keeping the words I wanted to say to her inside… beating them down deep into my throat because I didn’t want to take the time.
My mind was going faster than the speed limit with thoughts of …
Why didn’t I?
Why didn’t I talk to her?
Why didn’t I ask about her day, her family, her life?
The shop was slow, I could have taken the time to talk to her, to help her, if only by showing I cared.
Why didn’t I?
How many times have I done this - missed an opportunity to help a stranger, or even someone close to me? The heart knocks happen in small ways. A word. A look. A feeling. They are easy to miss and easy to ignore.
And yet, it is so easy to take a moment to smile, to ask, to give words of encouragement or a hug. It’s so easy to let someone know you care.
Life lessons are hard to learn. Especially when you miss the opportunity and there isn’t a “do-over.” This is one I won’t forget. Her turquoise sadness I won’t forget.
Next time I feel that knocking on my heart from someone in need, I will take the time.
Pennie’s Life Lesson:
“Never miss a chance to care, help and show kindness. Never miss a chance to love.”
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