IS 49: 8-15
PS 145: 8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18
JN 5: 17-30
"Far more than you may realize, your experience, your world, and even your self are the creations of what you focus on. From distressing sights to soothing sounds, protean thoughts to roiling emotions, the targets of your attention are the building blocks of your life." -- Winifred Gallagher
Lent is a time for reflection and introspection. As we look inward, are we aware of what holds our outward attention? Do we focus on the negative in a situation? Do we discredit the messenger at the expense of the message? Today's readings show how a focus on doubt or abandonment can make us closed to hearing the message of grace and mercy.
In our age of constant connection via social media, do we purposefully distract ourselves? How comfortable are we with quiet? I know that as I write this, I am constantly tempted to check my smartphone. How many times do our classmates' and colleagues' faces light up from the glow of their phones while we are telling the story of what happened in our life on a given day? By not being attentive to each other, we miss the chance to have someone feel validated. We miss the fleeting opportunity to be present in that moment and really enjoy it and learn from it.
As we seek to reflect on own experiences, we must first practice paying attention. The next time someone is speaking, put your phone away. Live in the moment and pay attention to what is going on in front of you. Determine what meaning it may have in your own life. Think of ways that you can act on the situation at hand. The more you pay attention and engage in life, the better you will be at shaping it.
Upon mastering your skill of attention, author P. M. Forni believes "you finally live out the elemental truth that in life there are no rehearsals and you only play for keeps."
Floyd Welsh is Program Director for Major Exploration Academic Advising in the Student Success Center.