Undivided Attention

MaryAnn McKibben Dana continues to help us rethink how we ponder and use time peaceour time, as a lovely crowd of Mid-Americans gather here in Kansas City at an event called OASIS.

When MA says that she’s stopped (or is trying to stop) using the terms “super busy” or “crazy busy” to describe her life, I remember that I’ve used those terms to describe my schedule about a dozen times already that day.

Instead, how about saying that life is full, life is abundant, life is . . . complicated even.  What if we shift our thinking to imagine that we are luxuriating in time.

So . . .

I didn’t take my Sabbath last week because there was a training I was expected to attend – and I didn’t even mind that (much.)  My Sabbath is Friday and this event was only offered on Friday, so there you go.  That would not have been a problem except that Saturday and Sunday were also booked solid.  Very. Abundant.

One of the things I spent my time doing Saturday was to sit and listen to individuals who are elders in a conflicted church.  We scheduled individual time for each to sit with me and say whatever they needed to say.  Without my tongue in my cheek, I can honestly say that I luxuriated in that time.  Undivided attention – if we recognize that’s what’s happening – is healing.  Yes, it takes time, but it is unadulterated pleasure – looking at someone’s face, listening to their frustrations/questions/anger, connecting with them as my actual brother or sister in Christ.  We are all on the same team, loved by the same God.  Even undivided attention touched by conflict can be nourishing.

But then we need to rest our brains.  Often this is the part we do kicking and screaming. Or engaging in something “restful” that feeds an addiction.  More about that tomorrow.

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