Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Of Strangers & Regrets

"Hello, dear. How are you?"
I snapped my head around and found myself staring down at an elderly lady dragging an oxygen tank. I racked my brain for recognition of this unfamiliar face. None came.
A packed mall bathroom seemed an awful odd place for a stranger to single me out.
I pulled my hands from the sink, shut the water off and smiled at her. "I'm doing well, how are you?"
Her eyes instantly lit up. "Oh, I'm okay. I'm 64, ya know."
The words came out jumbled, only barely audible, and it became clear old age had taken a toll on her mind.
She continued. "Without this," she waved a winkled hand toward her oxygen tank, "I can't breath."
I nodded and smiled politely. My friends were waiting in the food court and I felt uncomfortable holding conversation with a stranger in a crowded bathroom.
"I don't want to die. I will probably die soon." She said it with the same cheery voice she had greeted me with.
My friends could wait a few minutes. Silently, I said a quick prayer that God would allow me to share the gospel.
"Only God knows when we will die. All we can do is trust in Him."
A woman walking past raised an eyebrow at me.
I swallowed and fumbled through the rest. "And if we've accepted Him into our lives, we don't have to worry about where we're going when we die. We don't even have to fear death."
 The elderly lady rolled her eyes around the room. "I'm going to Heaven." She said it, but her words held no conviction.

There it was, the perfect opportunity for me to share the entire gospel. To explain the importance of repentance and the amazing gift God had given us.

But I paused.

I paused, feeling awkward and doubting if the lady would even understand anything I had to say.

And just like that, the elderly lady had moved on.

The wheels on her oxygen tank rolling softly across the floor.

I could have gone after her.

Could have taken the opportunity God had given me.

Instead, I went back to my friends.

And have regretted it ever since.

Since one of my best friends died, living without regrets has been extremely important to me.
So often I've found myself in situations and 'no regrets' has swam around in my mind. Twice it has led to me sharing the gospel in the past. Two of my very favorite memories.

But we get so caught up in our own little world. And forget to live life for other rather than ourselves.

Moment by moment.
No regrets.
And ALL for Christ.

That's what I strive for.

I wish I could turn back time and continue talking with that elderly lady. But maybe the little I did say was able to impact her. I can only pray.

And remember that moment the next time God opens the door for me. Whatever door it may be.

I pray next time I'll be able to walk away with no regrets.