THERE are many of us who sigh and wish opportunities would come by. Lecturer Charles Hobbs talks about a woman who lived in London over a century ago. She saved what little money she could working as a scullery maid and used it one evening to hear a great speaker of her day. His speech moved her deeply and she waited to visit with him afterward. “How fine it must be to have had the opportunities you have had in life,” she said. “My dear lady,” he replied, “have you never received an opportunity?” “Not me. I have never had a chance,” she said. “What do you do?” the speaker asked. She answered, “I peel onions and potatoes in my sister’s boarding house.” “How long have you been doing this?” he asked. “Fifteen miserable years!” “And where do you sit?” he continued. “Why, on the bottom step in the kitchen.” “And where do you put your feet?” “On the floor,” she answered, more puzzled. “What is the floor?” “It is glazed brick.” Then he said, “My dear lady, I want you to write me a letter about the brick.”
Against her protests about being a poor writer, he made her promise to complete the assignment.
The next day, as she sat down to peel onions, she gazed at the brick floor. That evening she pulled one loose, took it to a brick factory and asked the owner to explain to her how bricks were made. After months of study, she set out to write her letter as promised. She sent a 36-page document about the brick in her kitchen and to her surprise she received a letter back. Enclosed was payment for her research. He had published her letter! And along with the money came a new assignment – this time he asked her to write about what she found underneath the brick.For the first time in her life she could hardly wait to get back to the kitchen! She pulled up the brick and there was an ant. She held it in her hand and examined it.
That evening, she hurried back to the library to study ants. She learned that there were hundreds of different kinds of ants. Some were so small they could stand on the head of a pin; while others were so large one could feel the weight of them in one’s hand. She started her own ant colony and examined ants underneath a lens.
Several months later she wrote her findings in a 350-page “letter.” It, too, was eventually published. She soon quit her kitchen job to take up writing. Before she died, she had travelled to the lands of her dreams and had experienced more than she ever imagined possible! This is the woman who had never had a chance. Most people wait for an opportunity to come knocking whereas it’s right there waiting at your feet..!