Taken–and Missed–Opportunities

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Our Opportunity #2 last weekend was a campus minister seminar at Lipscomb University in Nashville, which included a reunion of people who previously served in campus ministry. Ray was a campus minister from 1977 to 1983. We loved working with college students, but we didn’t find the schedule conducive to the family life we wanted, so Ray moved into preaching when Mary Evelyn was born. However, as long as Ray served in the ministry, he worked in churches that reached out to students attending nearby universities.

Lipscomb Brewer Bell Tower Brent Moore flickr
Brewer Bell Tower at Lipscomb University, Nashville Brent Moore (Flickr, CC-BY-2.0)

When we learned about the reunion, we wanted very much to go and reconnect with people we knew and loved way back when. The reunion actually began on Thursday evening and continued into Sunday. Opportunity #1, the concert, kept us away for the first part; and Opportunity #3, Henry’s second birthday celebration, called us away from the last part. We decided to sandwich the reunion in during the day on Friday, before driving six more hours to Missouri Friday night. We are very glad we did.

Besides the wonderful reunions with fellow campus ministers from long ago, we got to see four dear folks from the six years that Ray served as campus minister to students at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.

During the first session on Friday morning, I noticed a woman I did not recognize wearing an Ole Miss T-shirt and sitting a couple of tables away from us. I decided that as soon as it was over, I would go over and talk to her to see if she knew people we used to know. When I got close, I was delighted to see that she was someone I used to know and nearby was her husband, who is now an elder at the Oxford church we love so much. The four of us caught up over lunch.

I loved hearing about Mike and Jan’s children and grandchildren and our loved ones in the church, but best of all was getting to talk with Jan about her mother and father. I learned so much about being a mother at the feet of her mother Wilma Davis; and Ray and I both admired Jan’s daddy Ervin Davis. It felt so good to tell Jan about the impact her mother had on me and our family. I am grateful for the opportunity.

In the afternoon, we played hooky from one session to spend it with the two other Oxford friends who were there.

Doug and Cora Beal when we saw them that day.

Doug and Cora Beal Shields had driven the four hours from Oxford for the weekend. Doug is 88; Cora Beal is 89. We have visited with them several times since we moved from Oxford and have been guests in their home. Last Friday was another precious time of sharing deep friendship with people we respect so much. And, how precious it was to hear them call each other, “Kiddo,” just as they always have.

Cora Beal was another of my mentors. I told her how very much she had meant to me and about how I believe that what she shared with me helps me now in what I share with each of you.

After Doug listened to me, he said to Cora Beal: “Did you hear that, Kiddo?” in a way that said, “See! See what good you have done?”

When we got back home Monday night, I found out that my wonderful high school history teacher, Dr. Alvin Rose, had gone to glory. I had thought again and again of taking him a copy of America the Beautiful and thanking him for his wonderful impact on my life. I never got that done and now I have to wait until Heaven. Dr. Rose was a Christian man who taught the gospel in addition to teaching his students history.

I’m going to be more careful with my opportunities from now on. I’m rejoicing in those I had on Friday and grieving over the one I missed.

But encourage one another day after day,
as long as it is still called “Today” . . .
Hebrews 3:13, NASB



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