Friday, January 29, 2010


I've enjoyed a bit of a wake up call this week.  All my life I've associated opportunity with goals.  Making that association has been rather crippling as I look back on things.  Goals have been connected with such adages as "shoot for the stars," so I've spent my time seeking pretty lofty opportunities.  Couple that with the adage, "opportunity only knocks once," and you have a formula for scarcity thinking.  I've always been a relatively positive person and always anticipated the appearance of the next opportunity.  Usually, they have come, sometimes in disguise, but always beneficial.  Trouble is, I've wasted a ton of time looking for the big opportunities and overlooking the little ones.

Let me give you a current example from my life.  I'm looking for a full time employment opportunity.  As I have yet to find one that has materialized for me, I'm rather strapped for cash.  I have often said that my unfinished basement is bogged down because when I have time I have no money and when I have money I have no time.  The other day, while taking a walk, I realized that doing so was a luxury, when compared with my past, when finding time was so difficult.  I realized that right now, I have the opportunity to walk without much time constraint.  That got me to thinking about this subject.  How many little opportunities have I overlooked, looking beyond the mark so to speak?  How many days have I wasted because I was so focused on the distant goal that I couldn't see right in front of me.  How many days of opportunity lie in that basement that don't cost money.  Things that could be done so that when money becomes available, they don't have to be done then.  Days and days worth I suspect.   I thought of another adage.  "Better to aim for the sky and hit the horizon than to aim for the horizon and hit the dirt in the foreground."  I'm not so sure about focusing all my attention on the distant goal, especially if it causes me to look past opportunities in the present.

My friend Dixon often says,  "The past is history, the future a mystery, today is a gift, that's why they call it the present."  I love that.  Since making this discovery I've come to realize that the present is rich with opportunity.  It reminded me of a song I'd not adequately considered.  "There are chances for work all around just now, opportunity right in our way, do not let them pass by saying sometime I'll try but go and do something today."  (Hymns, 223, Have I Done Any Good in the World Today.)  Tomorrow's opportunities may be wonderful and appealing, but there is no better opportunity than lies right before me, right now.  Ever.

There are constantly opportunities to serve others, to learn more, to improve something, to love someone.  These are the opportunities that matter.  We don't have to wait for something big or momentous to take blessed action, we can do it now!  I'm so impressed with the myriad souls who've dropped everything and gone to Haiti to help with the disaster there.  They must be opportunity seizers.  This isn't likely to be their first rodeo in the opportunity game.

One of the great troubles that comes of addiction is the decline into utter selfishness.  I spent so many years in addiction that I've missed out on so many simple pleasures, so many useful concepts and principles.  This is surely one.  Those who know me might point out that I've served long and well in my life and while on the surface that is very true, if I look back and examine my motivations, they are purely self serving ones.  I saw opportunity and service as a means to advance my own ends.  I seldom if ever saw it as a means to bless the lives of others.  Because of that I came think of opportunity as a scarce commodity in the market of life.  Looking beyond the perspective of self, I suddenly have discovered that opportunity is more abundant than anything else.

Every time I have such an epiphany I feel a little foolish for having gone so long with out realizing such a thing.  But that is mostly swallowed up in rejoicing that even this late in life, even after having become so lost and misguided, this earthly probation can be long enough for one such as I to get straightened out and come into the light.  What an ungrateful thing it is to overlook the profound blessing of opportunity.  It is much like the Atonement itself.  It is always available, but what good is the gift if I am unwilling to receive or even recognize it?


Kate Weber said...

Thanks for this! It's good to have this advice! I'm glad that you've figured it out!

Love you!

Aleen said...

Wonderfully said, as always, Myke. . . This must be why the scriptures say to "give thanks in all things." God can turn all to our benefit, if we let Him. His bounteous "gifts" of life, agency, opportunities, atonement, commandments, and love are too often overlooked and under appreciated. Thank you for reminding me of the gifts of each day. Enjoy the blessings of your less structured days and the opportunities that are yours. . .

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